Enough is abundance.

It’s time for you and me to channel our inner Richard Krajeski.

Here in America, the last week of November 2019 finds us at the confluence of (1) ominous environmental news across virtually every front, and (2) this year’s annual Thanksgiving celebration. 

The word from the United Nations on CO2emissions is dire. We’re also learning belatedly that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans, and that plastic is beginning to accumulate in our bodies (tonight’s PBS programming will unpack the story). Recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have stalled

Thanksgiving is also making the headlines, some in a not-so-good way: Extreme winter weather threatens to disrupt the busiest travel week of the yearFive things to talk about at Thanksgiving that aren’t politics. Sometimes easy to think that Thanksgiving can be equal parts celebration – and ordeal.

In the face of all this: how to be thankful?

This is where Richard Krajeski comes in. Everyone who knows Richard will know what I mean. Here’s a guy who unflinchingly faces all the good, bad, and ugly of everyday reality. He’s no Pollyanna. He sees dysfunction and brokenness – and yes, evil – for what they are, and names them. He stands up to the wrongheaded, even the powerful wrongheaded. But at the same time he sees good and hope and love and possibility at the very deepest levels of human experience, in even the worst of situations. He helps those around him get in touch and stay connected to our best selves. At meetings, and in groups, he’s most comfortable in the back, with the rest of us. But when he finds himself up front, whether at a conference lectern or a pulpit (he’s also ordained), he doesn’t merely talk; he proclaims.

And he models desired behavior. He doesn’t just opine about community resilience; he builds it, on the ground, one person at a time. Together with his wife, the fabulously energetic and insightful Kristina Peterson (she’s also a pastor), Dick has devoted a lifetime to faith-based, on-the-ground disaster relief. To be around him is to feel that school is in session. The headmaster is genial, to be sure, but still the headmaster. (And for that matter, Jesus himself is always in the neighborhood.) Dick is fully in the moment, but always with one eye out for the future.

So, for decades, within the hazards community, Dick has been supporter, participant, exhorter, comforter, spiritual measuring stick, contributing to and personifying what is best in the blend of academics, practitioners, survivors, and fellow travelers of that enterprise. He’s contributed original research, sermons, poems, and more, blending advice and encouragement of every sort.

But one note runs throughout:

Enough is abundance.

Just gotten an e-mail from Dick? There you find it at the beginning and/or the end: 

Enough is abundance.

Not that easy to wrap your head around the idea in the middle of the dozens of other e-mails and issues and the pressure of the day. But as you allow it to roll around in your head, you see the truth: enough really is abundance. And voila! The rest of the day – and maybe even life itself – is changed for you.

A graduate student worried about your thesis defense? A faculty member worried about tenure? A government worker burdened by lack of political support, or the threat of yet another (!) shutdown.? Or a daunting deadline?

Enough is abundance.

Lost everything and everyone you cared about in a disaster? Dick is providing you shelter and a hot meal. He’s not saying the words, but he’s telling you “enough is abundance.” Tomorrow you’ll see God’s love again.

Climate change realities got you down?

Enough is abundance.

Thanksgiving as much a hassle as harmony?

Enough is abundance.

Enough is abundance? Thanks for the thought, Dick! Just what we need to hear these days. We’re paying it forward. And Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from all of us.

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