“Thank God for what we have left.” – Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr.
For many people, the Thanksgiving season is a time for expressing gratitude to God for our many blessings. I have been spending time this season reflecting on how grateful I am to have been raised by my parents, Rev. A.D. King and Dr. Naomi King. My father’s legacy lives on in his powerful sermons, and writings, and in the work and lives of his children.
While my mother Naomi, also known by her fans as “the Butterfly Queen,” is 92 years old now, she continues to advocate globally for peace and justice. I recently traveled to Amsterdam as her stand-in as she was slated to share her long-earned wisdom with the world.
While the world seems to be crumbling around us, we must take heart in the lessons of our fathers and mothers who survived during much darker days than these. In those dark hours, their lips did not drip with hate; rather they turned to the wisdom of the Scriptures to guide their actions.
Matthew 5:44 tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. This is one of the cornerstones of my parents’ teaching. While I constantly pray to make sense of today’s chaos from the streets of Atlanta to the kibbutz of Israel, I remain determined to maintain a posture of gratitude. Again, I return to the Scriptures for guidance. Psalms 122:6 says, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” So, I continue to pray.
Some will argue that in a world consumed by strife and division, these principles are impractical, mere platitudes in the face of real challenges. For me, embracing a posture of gratitude becomes not just an act of defiance but a revolutionary stance as powerful as my family’s commitment to nonviolence in the face of injustice and brutality.
Oddly enough, a recent manifestation of gratitude has taken me by surprise in a most unexpected manner. In the spirit of love for the land of my birth, ingrained in my upbringing, I’ve taken steps to become a community farmer. Truly, following many years of being grateful for the bounty that comes from my home garden, I am now a resource farmer.
I may not be the proverbial “farmer in the Dell”, but I did become a farmer in a day through a program that I will be sharing more about in the coming weeks. In October, after many years of successful “home gardening,” I officially became a registered farmer with the United States Department of Agriculture.
This phase of my life’s journey is a renewal, a rebirthing—a tangible harvest of blessings. My lifelong passion for seed time and harvest is another gift inherited from my ancestors—a small but powerful reminder of our constant renewal and rebirthing. In cultivating the earth, I feel a profound gratitude for the times of harvest; great and small. In the landscape of gratitude, farming becomes a metaphor for intentional cultivation—a practice that results in harvest.
Amidst the uncertainties we face, let’s not underestimate the impact of gratitude as a tool to cultivate fruits of unity and understanding. My life’s journey continues to be a testament to the idea that much like a diligent farmer tends to the land, we all have the power to tend to the world around us by planting a grateful attitude wherever we go.
Dr. Alveda King founded the Alveda King Ministries (www.alvedaking.com) to inform and transform culture by sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Dr. Alveda King serves as Chair of the America First Policy Institute’s Center for the American Dream. She is the daughter of the late slain civil rights activist, Rev. A. D. King, the niece of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and a Christian evangelist, a graduate of Aidan University. Dr. King is also an acclaimed author and was twice elected to the Georgia State House.