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A Thanksgiving Message: No one cares about the broken down Mercedes at the side of the road.

From: Muhammad A.
Sent on: Wednesday, November 25, 2009 2:27 PM
Dear Charlotte Salsa Maniacs,

No one cares about the broken down Mercedes at the side of the road.

We some how believe that if you own a mercedes or other luxury car, you got it made. Life is great, and you certainly don't need our help. Besides, if we are not driving such a luxury car ourselves; when yours breaks down: "we ain't got no love for ya." You are on your own baby. Yet, everyone has some challenge in their life, we all do...we need one another. Dancers know this intuitively (it takes two to tango).


If we live long enough, we will come to learn that you truly can not always judge a book by its cover. Yet in age where everything moves so fast, it comes as no surprise that we don't take time to go beyond the surface. As such, we often miss a real gem, something really special, and as often we get it wrong.

This happens even in our dance; where we are so busy trying to get the pattern just right, or looking to see who we will dance with next, or showing off what we know, that we miss that gem of a person right there in front of us. Doing this does not make us bad people, we are just caught up in it all. We are so busy getting to next moment we miss the present one. Thankfully we have Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is an oasis, a sanctuary for us all. It is my favorite holiday. It is a holiday that is much more than an American tradition or a religious one; it is a celebration that extends beyond culture, race or any other label we embrace, Thanksgiving is a big enough umbrella to cover us all... for its two essential themes of Thanks and of Giving are universal. Thanks and giving - not just with ones we know and love, but with ones we may not know, but who we still care about because every life is precious. Two years ago, I spent Thanksgiving here in Charlotte at the home of my friend Jaxs (she is a Brit) and when we went around this large dinner table, I was the only one at the table who was an American. It was then I realized, this is much more than an American holiday about food and football.

Unfortunately, thanksgiving is a very wonderful time for some, while being a very painful time for others. We think the pain comes because people don't have enough. But, there is a pain as great or one so great that even eating good food cannot always resolve its sting. That is the pain of being separated from people we love and cherish.

Many of you are far away from home, and Thanksgiving reminds you so much of what you are missing. Some of us, smell that aroma of thanksgiving turkey and sweet potato pie (bean pie too... yes i said bean pie), and we miss Grandma, or Papi, or some one we love who is no longer living in this world. Some people we love are in distant lands protecting the rights we have come to take for granted. Thanksgiving reminds you that you are not alone...even a stranger in your midst will joyfully extend a hand or a smile or a well wish. Be that stranger.

I have come to really appreciate that Thanksgiving has two vital parts: Thanks and Giving. So this Thanksgiving let's endeavor to practice both; be thankful and give to others. Call or contact someone who you know would love to hear from you, or they are afraid to contact you because its been so long or last time things did not go as you had hoped. Or, the big one, they are not in contact because their life is not yet perfect...(they feel they need to lose weight first, or make more money, or whatever.. it does not matter). Be big enough to reach out to them, for next Thanksgiving, or in one to come, they or you may no longer be here. So cherish this moment of THANKS GIVING.

In the equation of thanks and of giving (like the related variation of giving and of receiving), we will experience both parts (many times). On whatever side of the equation that this Thanksgiving finds you, I pray your Thanksgiving far exceeds your best expectations.


Thanks to all of you for who you are being in the world, and thank you for being a part of this community.


Muhammad Abdullah

"the Cat in the Hat"

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