November 27, 2015

Cornucopia / Cynthia Dewes

It’s time to really put on our thankful hats and celebrate

Cynthia DewesThis is the season when we’re supposed to be thankful and count our blessings. It’s even a national holiday, and some people get to take off time from work. Now, there’s something we may be thankful for.

Let’s see. From what we hear on the nightly news, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot to be grateful about. I mean, Donald Trump and global warming? Please.

Still, we should take time to reflect about our blessings, whatever they are. Many of us can be thankful that we have a job which furnishes our housing, our food and most of the things we need in daily life. If it’s a job we love, that’s an added reason to be thankful. If our work is satisfying and our co-workers pleasant, we’ve got it made, and if the work is helpful to others, that’s another plus.

Maybe we have children, grandchildren, and “greats” who enrich our lives, even when they’re naughty. Their imaginations enchant us, and their progress makes us proud. We marvel at their insights, their kindness and their loving responses to others. Even when our kids are handicapped in some way, we can only admire their hopeful perseverance and grit, with pity or despair not among the possible options.

On the other hand, our children may come up with different kinds of problems that we can’t solve. In that case, we have to settle for being thankful for God’s grace. We need to listen and do whatever we can to help, but then back off and pray. Luckily, it’s God who’s in charge of every situation, and we can be grateful for that, too.

One thing I’m thankful for every moment of every day is a sense of humor. I’ve said this before, but there are very few occasions which I don’t find funny in some way. Maybe that’s denial or dimwittedness, but there it is. Life is often ridiculous, no doubt about it, and again as proof I cite Donald Trump.

Friends are a major reason to be thankful. Mine range in age, race, political persuasion, religion, you name it. But somehow, we’re all on the same page when it comes to what we think is important or funny or inspiring. Some of us have a longtime shared past, and others not, but it doesn’t matter. When I’m with the old friends I see only once a year, we take up right where we left off. And when I’m with others I see often, our meetings are always fresh and interesting.

Some of these friends for whom I’m thankful are actually relatives. Naturally, or maybe unnaturally, chief among them is my husband. Then there are my children, grands and greats, plus the in-law kids, my two elderly aunties, my many cousins and even some of my husband’s relatives. They all make family reunions mini-Thanksgivings in themselves.

When I consider the life I’ve had, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude. God gave me loving parents and a happy childhood. Not everyone is so lucky. After all, every family, including mine, is dysfunctional in some way. But if we think about it, we can value the experiences we’ve had and the lessons we’ve learned, good or bad.

Life is God’s gift to us, and to show our thanks I think we should try to make our lives reflect the giver. Happily, in America, we have a national holiday on which to celebrate the idea! How clever of us.

(Cynthia Dewes, a member of St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Greencastle, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)

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