Thanksgiving Day in Croatia is nonexistent. Unfortunately the practice of giving thanks is almost just as foreign. If there's ever a time when an American misses - even longs for their tradition, today is the day.
Last evening I joined a small informal house group gathering in a nearby town. I was invited to share something from a spiritual nature so I talked about thankfulness. We wrote down at least five things we were thankful for and then openly shared our lists with one another.
Sadly, some of those lists quickly turned into stories. Stories of abusive husbands. Stories of death. Stories that turned into tears. Stories that would continue as soon as the meeting was over. An activity meant to fill our hearts with joy left me wondering if I should have picked another theme.
This is just one example. But hopelessness, loneliness and depression fill many lives in this part of the world.
And as I write I realize it's this way everywhere. Fear is just around the corner, hunger is an ever-present feeling and pain is a constant for millions around our globe - America included.
I looked forward to reading the Thanksgiving greetings on facebook as our day came to an end. It was a strange diversion I needed. I missed the Lions, la-z-boys, and laughter that have become symbols of past Thanksgiving Days. Today may have been shockingest shock of all.
Somewhere, everywhere, people are hurting. May our hearts, though overflowing with gratitude, never forget that.