Today I am thankful that my family and I are safe. As I sit in my house writing this, it is blissfully easy to forget that I am lucky not to have to worry that militants will burst into my house to abuse us, to rape my wife, to send me and my family to concentration camps. As I drive to work, it is nice that I am not likely to be stopped at a blockade, forcibly removed from my car, and violently executed on the spot because of the colour of my skin, or because I believe something, or because my ancestors lived in one part of the world and not another, or just because my country is consumed by social unrest and I happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. As my son boards his school bus, I am so, so thankful that he is not likely to be hit by shrapnel. It sounds morbid to write, but these things are commonplace in so many parts of the world. I can’t imagine sitting at my kitchen table, listening to gunfire and explosions outside, and going on eating my peas and thinking, “this is all so very normal.” I believe safety is a basic human right, but it is a right denied to so many.
But, despite my gratitude, I am cautious not to work myself into a false sense of security. While I read of school shooting sprees, it is so simple to squelch the rising panic in my throat by telling myself, “these things happen in places far away from where you live,” but there is nothing preventing it from happening where I live.
So, yes, I am thankful today, but let me be continuously thankful for every day, every hour, every second that my children are safe and that I am not robbed of them in one unpredictable moment of gratuitous violence or tragedy.