In the midst of a world fraught with strife and contentiousness, it is easy to become disillusioned and overwhelmed by the brokenness that surrounds us. However, as we move toward celebrating Thanksgiving, it is vital that we take a moment to reflect on the power of gratitude, even in the face of adversity.

In a time when it seems that divisions run deep and solidarity is hard to find, expressing gratitude becomes an act of resilience and hope. We acknowledge the brokenness, the pain and the injustices that exist, while also finding moments of grace and reasons to be thankful. This duality is not only possible but necessary for our well-being.

I asked students to take a moment to reflect on things for which they were thankful. The list included friends, family and the supportive college community. Because the class is “Peace and Conflict,” they were particularly grateful for the freedom of expression and relative safety they enjoy. They also were quick to express their determination to work to enable others to have access to these and other essential resources.

College life includes friendships forged, knowledge gained and the transformative experiences that higher education affords us. Similarly, it includes challenges faced, uncertainties navigated and lessons learned from our failures. I am reminded of Melody Beattie’s words: “Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

So, dear Terrier friends, let us practice gratitude today and always, acknowledging the brokenness while finding reasons to be thankful. May we carry the spirit of gratitude with us as we journey into the future.

Happy Thanksgiving!