Gratitude & Trust
In this lead-up to our uniquely American holiday of giving thanks, it seems obvious, yet cliche, to talk about what we’re grateful for.
But it’s a necessary exercise. Enumerating those positive elements reminds us of the many ways in which this mystical blessing of life has smiled upon us. They remind us that we’ve encountered and manufactured so much good in the face of the universe’s indifference and despite human nature’s inevitable and inherent flaws…and have the power to do it again. They counter our survival instinct to be wary and skeptical…to be untrusting.
And that simple act of acknowledging our blessings…nay, celebrating them…reframes our very existence. When we recognize life’s encompassing good, we will not instinctively perceive the unknown or unexpected or undesired as part of a grander, insidious scheme — our inexorable destiny — but as random occurrences which do not portend more of the same.
We will trust in the world. We will trust in our ability to transform the world. We will trust in the world’s malleability to our efforts.
Gratitude builds trust. And we need trust more than ever.
I am grateful for so very much. And I wanted to write them out here. First, as a public shout-out. But…second and just as importantly…with the hope that maybe these will serve as a reminder for others, even my future self.
So, with that, I am grateful…
For my beloved wife Christie, who has been the yin to my yang…and oftentimes both my yin and yang.
For my precious children who, with their love and curiosity and bountiful forgiveness, have given more than I will be able to give back.
For my mother who taught me to never relent to the world.
For my father who taught me that sometimes you must.
For my stepmother who taught me about perseverance.
For my siblings, without whom I could not have survived life’s most traumatic events.
For the extended family that stayed around when so much of life came asunder.
For my friends throughout the years who always made me feel part of something bigger.
For the teachers and coaches and colleagues and clients over the years who’ve challenged me and helped me grow.
For that one Barron’s SAT book that set me on the path to an education I had no reason to expect.
For the US government which provided my university scholarship and, more importantly, hope.
For the US Navy which taught me how to work on a team and, more importantly, how to see the world both at home and abroad.
For thirteen years in the legal profession, which taught me rigorous thinking.
For eleven years in the wine trade, which has taught me effective storytelling.
For “The Dead Poet Society” which embedded the notion of carpe diem.
For Yann Martel’s “The Life of Pi”, which taught me the concept of…and necessity for…faith.
For David Foster Wallace’s “This Is Water” commencement speech, which was my epiphany for engaging the world with a new perspective.
For noticing all of the good and decent in the world, once I put my screen down and talk to and observe actual, real people in their entirety.
For the boundless ability and connectivity that screens and technology nonetheless give us to shape our world collectively for the better.
For the City of New York which, for all of its flaws, has given me an electrifying, empowering and dynamic hometown like no other.
For those courageous voices talking over the din of discord to counsel understanding and unity and a new way of thinking.
For our nation which has inarguably evolved and, time after time, has overcome daunting obstacles to become an ever-more perfect union.
For the continuing, never-ending opportunities to explore our world.
For the hugs and tears and love that always fill our home after another of life’s tumults crashes through.
For every inhalation…every heartbeat…every glorious sound…every resplendent color…every pulsating emotion and sentiment…which mean I am alive now in this world.
A world that I am grateful for. A world that I have trust in.
It’s not a perfect world. And never will be. Understanding that and accepting that makes it all the more beautiful and makes it all the more possible that with pleasant, persistent, patient effort, it will be even moreso for our progeny.
Wishing everyone gratitude and trust and a happy Thanksgiving!