There is nothing like loss to make one appreciate what we are grateful for. Our community has sustained significant loss recently, in the lives of people we knew and loved to suicide, and in our sense of immunity from violent crime. Also in our collective loss of knowing what can be done.
We do what we have always done in a small town. We band together to support one another. We cook and bring food to those who need it. We eat meals together and talk, or just listen. We take a little bit longer with people we know and have patience with those we don’t. We work a little harder to try to understand what someone else may be going through.
It’s called empathy.
When Nicholas Kristof addressed a full house at the Community Concert Hall in Durango in October, he said he thought our society suffered from “an empathy gap.” To place oneself in another’s position and to feel what another person is experiencing is empathy, something we could all use and practice more of.
Never before have we as a society been so connected globally and simultaneously so isolated as individuals. People are feeling lonely, unsupported and lacking in human bonds and connection, even in small towns. Layer our political climate on top of it all and the feelings can get worse. How will we ever bridge the divide?
Not talking about politics during Thanksgiving is a good start. Making an effort to hear someone else’s point of view another. Spend time with children, elders and pets – family members who are rarely in a hurry and are expert at slowing down those of us who are. It is a perfect time of year to make time for friends and make new ones.
The Durango Community Thanksgiving Dinner taking place Thursday at the La Plata County Fairgrounds is one great place to do so. In its 31st year, and sponsored by the Durango Shared Ecumenical Ministries, local volunteers will serve a full Thanksgiving meal from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. with take-out meals available after 1:30 p.m.
Volunteers and pies are still needed at the dinner. For more information, to volunteer or if you need a ride or a meal delivered, call 259-4061.
All are welcome. And that’s the point. Happy Thanksgiving to our big Durango family.