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Thankful for Love

Yesterday and today I've heard from several friends they're thankful I'm a part of their lives. I've spent the day with my family and have enjoyed a gradual pace with nice conversation, laughter and us reflecting on all we've been through together. 

Part of the reason I want to hold to, and cherish the love I'm fortunate to have in my life, is influenced by a recent part of the book Original Gangstas I'm reading about the birth of west coast hip hop. Ice-T, one of the earliest rappers in the west coast scene, talked about why being a part of a gang was so appealing. He spoke about growing up with his aunt in California after both of his parents died from health issues, "My aunt never said she loved me. My mother and father were never big on that word. You get to Crenshaw, and you got a male friend saying, 'cuz, ain't nothin' never fin' to happen you home. You safe, cuz, I love you." To have such a gap of something so fundamental in your life has to be so hard.

Reflecting on Ice-T's statement reminds me of something researcher Brené Brown says, "we're all hardwired for connection with others." For those of us observing gang culture from afar, and not understanding it, keep this in mind before judging it. How much is about causing trouble vs seeking out belonging? 

As I celebrate today with my immediate family and reflect on those I'm lucky enough to have in my life, I want to remember love is not always a given. Many people are moving through life without love and I hope they find it. When I think about what could be lacking from, or taken from my life, it reminds me how fortunate I am to have it.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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