“This has been the best Thanksgiving I’ve ever had.” I read these words over and over last month as victims of the Northern California Camp fire were interviewed in the shelters that were set up to house them after the fires took everything they’d ever owned. Here were families, sometimes multi-generational, who had lost homes, pets, heirlooms, mementos, and in many cases friends, neighbors and loved ones. Yet their gratefulness to be alive, to have survived, and to experience the outpouring of support from miles around had filled their hearts. They experienced kindness and they gave kindness in return.
The people of Paradise, California and the surrounding towns are an inspiration to me and remind me to embrace what’s most important. As I set out my Christmas decorations I resisted the urge to buy more, to add to the collection of baubles and garland and festive figurines I’ve amassed over the years. I have enough. I have more than enough.
I am one of the lucky ones. I have my family, friends, house, pets, and heirlooms. I can still touch my mementos and look at pictures of weddings, babies and past generations. I still have “things”. I am grateful for it all. But reading the words of survivors of the fires, I know that I would be okay if I lost it all, too.
My heart goes out to all those who have lost something this year.
I am thankful for my clients – incredibly talented people who do great things in their professional and personal lives; for my colleagues Liz, Laura and Amy who bring their talents to helping others and make our jobs fun; for the circle of business contacts that get up at the crack of dawn for breakfast meetings and bring integrity to everything they do. Thank you all!
So, as we all make time for family and friends this holiday season, I encourage you to look around. Take in all the things that you have and know that you’d be okay if it all went away. Know that people are kind and helpful, and it’s our relationships that matter most.
Wishing you a safe and peaceful holiday with family and friends!