Thanks BePosted: November 19, 2011
There’s this thing going around the Facebook world. One day, one thing for which you’re thankful.
And so on.
I’ve not taken part in this, although I’m certain it would be a helpful exercise. But I have been giving thanks. Inviting friends over for tea, dried peas, and other snacks. Talking about Pilgrims and Indians and turkey and gratitude.
There’s this thing my family does every year before we eat Thanksgiving dinner. It’s not uncommon, your family probably does it, too. We go around the room in a circle and share why we’re thankful this year. It’s been a joy, this year to share that with my friends and to learn what moves their hearts.
It’s fascinating to note the different (and the similar) things those of us from divergent cultural backgrounds value. Here, successfully passing the infamous gao kao (the life-defining university entrance exam) is a recurring theme.
I’ve been struck with the importance and the difficulty of finding the line between appropriate vulnerability/what has genuinely moved my heart and talking just for the sake of reaction. Perhaps most surprising, however, has been the impact the simple act of sharing has on my friends.
I might be generalizing, but in my experience this type of honesty is not a regular part of Asian culture, where face is highly valued and reticence is a prized virtue. So when you gather friends and open your heart, it makes an impact. (On me and not just them.)
Surprisingly, again and again girls have been moved to cry by the simple act of sharing. It’s trendy these days to talk about how disconnected people are in this technological paradise where we now live. Yet it’s true. The seemingly innocent act of talking about something real is a deep-rooted desire within all of us. It may be true that “every soul is a mystery.” But we don’t want it to be that way.
We humans have an innate desire to know each other, to live in community, to be understood. I so often forget, but there is only one who can meet that need.
And he longs to do that. For all of us.