In all the things I’ve thought of for which I am grateful, I have never thought about the fact I can vote as one of them.
On Friday, a co-worker from Zimbabwe reminded me of my privilege.
We had a gathering at the end of the day to ‘christen’ our new admin offices into which we’d just moved that week. As we stood in the kitchen chatting I mentioned I’d voted at the Advance Polling Station in City Hall on my way back from a meeting.
RB, after listening to a few of us talk about the election commented on how amazed he is that people actually talk about voting in this country and are not afraid to do so.
“In Zimbabwe you could be killed just for talking about voting. People don’t even wear certain colours for fear they’ll be attacked.”
It surprised me. Shocked me.
Imagine, something we take for granted here is worth killing for in another country.
Last night, as 16 of us gathered around the dining room table for our last Thanksgiving dinner in this house (we are selling it and moving to a new home on the river December 1) we laughed and chatted and at times, the conversation turned political. People espoused their views without fear of repercussion or reprisal. No one worried they’d be ‘reported’ and get sent away or ‘disappeared’.
That is freedom.
After dinner, we went around the table answering the questions I’d slipped inside the placecards I’d made for the dinner.
- What’s one thing you’re grateful for that happened this past year?
- What’s one thing you appreciate about the person sitting on your right?
- Name someone you’re grateful is in your life and tell us why.
- What do you give thanks for today?
- Name 3 things about yourself that you are grateful for.
- If you could thank one historical person, who would it be and what would you thank them for?
- Name ten things in your life for which you are grateful.
- Name ten people in your life for whom you are grateful.
As I listened to each person answer the question they’d been given, I was struck by the beauty and richness of everyone around the table. Not just because they gave thoughtful, considerate answers to the questions, but also because they didn’t pooh pooh the idea or make a joke about it — they deep dove into their hearts and shared what was important for them.
To be surrounded by people who care so deeply and fill their hearts and my world with such gratitude is a beautiful gift.
It is also an expression of the freedom I take for granted. As I listened to each guest’s answer and the conversations going on around the table, I realized, I have never had to risk my life to express my opinions, my voting preferences or right to vote because I live in a country where my freedom is something I take for granted.
I am grateful.
May all the world know the same freedom one day.