In times of tragedy, is it possible to feel thankful? The answer for Union members should be an emphatic “yes.”
UFCW 8-Golden State feels deeply the pain of our sisters and brothers in and around Paradise, Calif., who lost their homes and jobs in the wildfires of November 2018. Our Union is responding actively to help relieve this pain by providing economic assistance, referrals and other resources to Union members and their families. (Please see article on page 7 for details.)
We also share the concerns of thousands of other individuals, in California and elsewhere, whose lives are disrupted by natural and human-made catastrophes, whether they are wildfires in Southern California or horrific shootings in Pittsburgh and Thousand Oaks.
Americans were already on edge due to previous events of violence and disaster, as well as the recent heated midterm election campaigns and the toxic partisan environment we’ve been enduring for years.
Sadly, we have become accustomed to certain politicians and commentators exploiting and deepening the divisions which plague us.
Still, one must always look for the proverbial silver lining in even the darkest of rainclouds, and this lining is found in the human actions of charity and compassion in response to tragedy.
We have witnessed outpourings of sympathy for the afflicted and acts of kindness to relieve their suffering.
Reminders of the season
In this holiday season, which begins with the celebration of Thanksgiving and concludes with the welcoming of a new year, we remind ourselves of the necessity of such virtues as kindness, compassion and charity.
This is the time of year when we are called upon to step out of our resentments and emphasize the positive virtues we all share and cherish.
Tragedies remind us of the seemingly never-ending enmity between hope and despair. But given the choice between them, I will choose hope every time.
Hope is manifested by action to relieve suffering and building a better more secure future for all. It teaches us we have more power to repair the tragedies of our world than we ever thought possible.
Action is the weapon of hope in its war with despair.
A colleague who lives in one of the communities threatened by the recent fires in Southern California shared a message.
“Before we re-enter our beloved homes,” he wrote, “let’s pause on the curb outside and remember: This separation from home gave us a golden opportunity to gain a whole new appreciation for how precious is the home.
“Thus as we are reunited with home, we resolve to treat home with a renewed sense of love, respect and tender loving care.
“Specifically, we call on ourselves to ban forever more the two most destructive forces for a home: anger and melancholy.
“Forget termites. Anger and melancholy are the real pests.
“From this day forward, it’s a new start. The separation has cleansed the home of any unpleasant energy it ever imbibed.
“Tempers, flare ups, misplaced anger — gone forever. Melancholy, negativity, general malaise — gone forever.
“From today let us resolve to be aggressive in protecting the energy of our homes from anger and unhappiness.
“We will fill our homes with good spirits, beautiful music, positive thinking, patience and understanding, sanctity and prayer, and kindness and hospitality like never before.
“There’s no place like home — enjoy it!”
We are all members of an extended family, and UFCW 8-Golden State is a home we all call our own.
It is a home built on the foundations of hope and solidarity.