Saturday, November 19, 2011

GIVING THANKS

~PLEASE LISTEN TO THIS SHORT VIDEO BEFORE READING~

In 1863 our country was at its most divided point in our history. Americans were locked in a Civil War that would see the deaths of over 150,000 Americans. Yet, in the midst of that horrible conflict, President Abraham Lincoln gave this proclamation to ask all Americans to pause and think about the things for which we are thankful.

Currently in 2011, we see the lines of division rising among our people. We still have our sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers and other loved ones in harm's way from Afghanistan, Iraq and other areas of military deployment. We are seeing class warfare being used to rekindle old hatreds. Many have lost their jobs and homes and we see this economic malaise has gone far beyond our borders. Many are afraid for the future and some almost to the point of taking up arms once again.

I would say that in November of 2011 just as in 1863, we need to pause the rhetoric, division and hatred. We need to step back and think of what we have to be thankful for. I remember a number of Thanksgivings in which I was sitting with a TV Tray in front of me having a Swanson TV Dinner, while my Dad was away at sea and my "Mom", Babe, was passed out in a wine stupor. I didn't know any different and for me it was a Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving. Being thankful is not resentment for the things you do not have, it is giving thanks for what you do have.


This week I am going to list some things I am thankful for and invite you to do the same. If you have a list, post it in response to this blog. Let's share this blog and this list with those who can add to it. Maybe, decide not to listen, read or watch the news this Thursday - Sunday. Spend that time taking a break from all that noise that drowns out that still small voice within - be thankful.

I am thankful for:
  • A wonderful daughter and son who I see blossoming into adulthood with strong critical minds and wonderful gifts of music and artistic expression.
  • I am thankful I love my wife, daughter and son.
  • I am thankful for my wife who keeps me young. The zeal for her each endeavors amazes me. Her compassion knows no limits.
  • I am thankful that I am in a congregation of believers that, as a family, loves seeking truth and doesn't require adherence to some ancient dogma.
  • I am thankful that my daughter and son are in stable relationships where they can give and receive love. 
  • I am thankful that I live in a country, that even in the midst of recession and division that our family has a home and food on the table.
  • I am thankful for the peace God has brought back into my life.
  • I am thankful for friends and loved ones.
  • I am thankful I have a job and that I enjoy my work and the people I work with.
  • I am thankful in spite of all the death we have seen in our family, in 2011, those who are still here have healed a great deal.
I think you have the idea. Start looking around your life - start to see the things you have that you can be thankful for. I think we spend far too much of our energies fighting the things we have no control over - like world events and other people in general. Life is full of beauty, we just have to take the time to see it.

Peace
~Al
P.S. Just for Josephine I thought I would add Johnny Cash