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Ashley Hamilton, Malibu Resident
2:46 pm PST November 15, 2018

Before we give thanks, let us give thought to the faces we do not see and the voices we do not hear. 

Let us honor the victims of the Woolsey Fire. 

We can summon their images and replay the sound of their voices in the virtual world of video clips and audio files: an ethereal world — with an Ethernet connection — where what the physical world hath reduced to dust and ashes the digital realm automatically converts into ones and zeros. It is, however, little comfort to see what we cannot touch. It is hard to listen to what we may not want to hear.

The burden is nonetheless ours to bear, as we are lucky to be alive. 

Let us, therefore, be thankful for our lives.

Let us also be mindful of the friend who never complains; because we never asked, and he never told us, about the pain he suffers and the silence he endures — alone — when he goes home to an empty apartment, when he has a house but no home, when he has a phone but no messages. 

The quiet time is when our friend is most vulnerable. 

We owe the quiet man the sound of our voices and the sight of so many helping hands. We owe the widow the same, just as we owe the orphan the present of our presence. 

Thanksgiving is meaningless otherwise. It is neither a day to be thankful nor a holiday to give or receive love, unless we not only call a friend but act as his keeper — so he may feel the warmth of our kindness, so he may warm our hearts, too.

We owe it to ourselves to acknowledge the lost and to accommodate the dispossessed.

It is our obligation to conquer the quiet, so a chorus of humanity can outperform a crescendo of harm, so a concert of charity can outlast a concerto of hardship, so an encore of love can outlive an ensemble of hate.

This Thanksgiving, let us bring the music.

Let it ring throughout Malibu, and echo from the mountains to the valleys.

Let it be a chord of brotherhood — and a chime of sisterhood — so the quiet may pass and the best of Thanksgiving may never die.

Let our works be louder than our words, because it is easier to do what we say than it is to struggle to find the right words to say.

If I struggle to write my intentions, despite my intention to do the right thing, I know what to do: call a friend or visit a neighbor.

I call upon you — as I hope you will call upon me — to make Thanksgiving a day of action.

Our acts can bless a life, or at least better a day in the life of a friend, thereby repairing the world.

It can be a less harsh world. It should be a world worth living to see, rather than existing to have an everlasting life in the world to come; in a world that may never come, because it may not exist, while the choice is ours to live well — or die quietly — in the world of the here and now.

It is an imperfect world.

It is a world of poverty and privation, of tyranny and terror.

It is also a world of grit and gallantry, of dash and daring.

It is a world in which Thanksgiving thrives.

Ashley’s Angle is a monthly column from Malibu resident Ashley Hamilton. Hamilton is an artist and father who seeks to express the truth through his work. Ashley’s Angle will cover issues and politics which are relevant to the Malibu community at large. The opinions of this column are that of the writer. They do not necessarily reflect those of the Malibu Surfside News.