The table is the great equalizer

Thanks for the kind notes about last week's dispatch. If you haven't had a chance to read it just yet, I hope you do and share your thoughts. This week, Lisa explores gratitude.

For the past few weeks, my Sunday afternoons have been devoted to the time-honored tradition of writing post-wedding thank you notes.

As I set out to tackle the first round of notes, I glanced over the long list of names—the kind and brave souls who’d helped transform an ordinary autumn afternoon into a transcendent celebration—and nearly gave up before I started. It seemed an impossible task to distill a heart full of gratitude into a few lines each on a flimsy note card. I wondered for a moment whether I should reinvent the strangely simple task before me and instead spell out my thanks in fireworks, just to show how much I really meant it. I was certain the notes were not sufficient, and furthermore, that I surely could not complete them all before our fiftieth anniversary.

But as I sealed the last handful of notes this weekend, I felt a pang of sadness that this small practice of gratitude had come to a close. I’d come to expect that a portion of my week should be set aside for giving thanks, for breaking a vague sense of gratitude down into small, specific pieces and directing it to specific people. I hope that in the coming weeks, a thoughtful practice will continue to occupy this space, reminding me of the many shades of community pulsing beneath the surface of daily life.

In the spirit of gratitude, thank you to each of you who are reading and wondering along with Uncommon each week, helping to build something we can only create together. — Lisa

Uncommon reads

Colin Harmon's story of devoting his life to coffee:

Build it slow, build it steady, build it strong. Just like we always have. 3FE started with an ethos of “make nice coffee, be nice to people, see them come back”. As we grow, we always look back to this starting point and look forward with that same intention.

The Artist Next Door, a Wall Street Journal profile of Theaster Gates:

"Whenever people here do better, they move," he says, "but that just means they don't want to be around poverty. I'm interested in the politics of staying."

A Thanksgiving Love Story by Jacques Pépin:

Thanksgiving, for me, is the greatest example of what a great dinner should be: a meal that welcomes people of all religious, political or ethnic persuasions. The table is the great equalizer, and everyone around that table gets along with one another and enjoys life with family and strangers alike.

Your turn

What’s your favorite way to give thanks, and what are you most thankful for lately?