Sunday, November 23, 2008

refocus, give thanks

It’s the weekend before Thanksgiving.
People are busy shopping, enjoying Lansdale’s Mardi Gras Parade, figuring out their travel plans, deciding where everyone will sit at the table on Thursday and hoping that everything will go off without a hitch.
That is, if you’re among the “lucky” people this year.
We all know of the devastation around us on so many fronts.
The wars rage on and so many soldiers are still so far away from home.
People are losing their jobs, their homes, their hope.
Gasoline prices have dropped, but people bemoan the heating and electric rates that are draining their pocketbooks.
There doesn’t seem to be any decline in food prices.
Too many must hold their breath, wondering if their company will be the next to announce layoffs or, worse, close entirely.
So is there any reason to be thankful this year? Is there any reason to be hopeful, unless you’re in that small percentage whose investments haven’t evaporated, whose job isn’t in danger, whose fortunes always seem to be on the rise?
The answer is, “Of course.”
And that isn’t coming from someone who is independently wealthy or hasn’t experienced loss or is in the most secure profession in the world.
Anyone who pays attention at all to business news knows that the newspaper business is hurting. Badly.
And I’ve seen what I thought would be my retirement nest egg simply crack and drain away.
My parents are both gone and my husband has been dead for nearly five years.
I hope my major appliances will keep working and that my car won’t decide it’s simply traveled far enough.
Sounds like doom and gloom? I admit, there are days when it’s hard to find a silver lining.
But then I think of those who are so much worse off; who have lost everything in horrible storms; whose loved ones have been killed in war; who have no home, no family, no friends.
One of my friends lost her husband this summer. She’s in her 30s and he was only 40. They have a 2½-year-old son. She’s facing a future without the person with whom she had planned to spend a lifetime.
We all have similar stories.
But we all have reasons to give thanks.
I have a wonderful daughter, family and friends in my life.
I have my faith.
I have a home without a mortgage.
I have my health.
I have memories of my loved ones that continue to sustain me.
And yes, I have my crazy cats.
So as you sit down on Thursday and are tempted to complain about the results of the election or the economy or the guy who cut you off in traffic earlier that day, just stop.
Stop and remember the positives in your life.
Stop and remember all those Thanksgivings that were so happy and promised such hope; this can be another one just like those.
Stop and count your blessings.
And think of others, and how you might be able to reach out to them in the weeks ahead.
Make this a season when you truly can give thanks.

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