Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Time To Be Thankful

1943-03-06-Saturday-Evening-Post-Norman-Rockwell-article-Freedom-from-Want-430-DigimarcIt's Thanksgiving in America.  I am sure the turkey is in the oven at many houses already. But before its scent starts to fill the house or we all run off to wherever we are gathering later, it's time to think about the things that make our lives special and give thanks.

It's been a year of great personal turmoil and change for me.  I've had to move, lost a relationship with a wonderful partner, downsized my life and forced to take a hard look at who I am and what is really important.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because we can spend some time reflecting and then we usually get to enjoy our friends and family eating great food and sitting around the TV or fire.  These days, with Facebook and Skype and the like, there isn't as much catching up to do, but it's still important to have the gatherings.  I know from experience these last few months that the internet and the connections it brings can be a great friend when you are lonely, but there is no substitute for everyone being together.

Gas is $3.13 this morning.  A winter vacation isn't in the cards for many of us this year.  The economy is still stagnant and there is no NBA season.  Congress can't agree on a single thing and the only thing the Republican presidential candidates agree on is that it's all Obama's fault. 

Still, we live free in the greatest nation on earth.  I was able to get up and go to Wawa this morning in my car, my kids are playing nicely in the living room and we have a nice little home we have made our own.  We have many challenges, but far more to be thankful for.

Today I am thinking about the 102 settlers who came across the storm-tossed Atlantic seeking just the life I live today (with a lot more church going probably).  I am also thinking about the millions of men and women who were already here, living for generations in this land before Europeans invaded.  I am thinking about the land itself and all that it provides for us in food, shelter, energy, and recreation. 

I am very thankful for all those who will not be able to spend the day with their families, from the men and women serving in the armed forces, the police officers and first responders on duty keeping us safe, everyone in the service industry feeding America today and all those folks at retail establishments who will stock the shelves so we can take everything we want home today and tonight.

I am also thankful for those who are gone now.  Family and friends who were very important to me and to John and Emma for a long time.  The impact of those who we miss today can't be measured, but can be seen every day in who we are and in how we live.

My family and friends have gotten me through a very difficult period.  I am thankful to them for providing great summer vacations, a place relax and enjoy, a beautiful wedding and party, help moving and re-establishing and so many moments of fellowship that I can't even count them all.  As doors close in any life, new doors open and I have been heartened to find all kinds of folks, both new to our life and returners, behind the doors we have opened and re-opened recently.

Finally I am thankful for my two wonderful childrenJohn and Emma make it all worth it.  They fill the house with noise, give me so many moments of joy and help me see the positives even on really tough days.  They are the constant in my life.

This is my 6th Thanksgiving day post, and Norman Rockwell's 'Freedom From Want' has been with us since the beginning.  It's symbolic to me of all that it means to be an American.  But that's the simple, easy version of being an American.  The truth is, that it's a lot harder than the picture makes it out to be.  So today, please take a moment to consider the sacrifices of all those who make your life what it is today.  Thank those you can and remember and consider those you can't.

Happy Thanksgiving!


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