Thanksgiving, is without a doubt, my favorite holiday.
True, it does not carry with it the spiritual and faith dimensions of Christmas and Easter for those who, like myself, consider themselves Catholics.
Thanksgiving is not, in the true sense, a “Holy Day”, from which the term “holiday” is derived.
Quibbling aside it remains my favorite holiday.
I’ve always appreciated the idea that there is one day a year in which we should gather together with friends and family and be thankful and grateful for our lives.
In my family of 9 children there was never a quiet or small Thanksgiving. There were, to be sure, some Thanksgiving holidays which were more joyous and celebratory as others.
But, there was never, in my mind, a Thanksgiving where I was not grateful for the gathering noise of my brothers and sisters as we came together from near and far to enjoy one another’s company around mountains of food.
As we grew older and we began to have lives and families of our own the gatherings grew bigger and then, in the blink of an eye, they grew smaller as the children of the children of my mother and father began to go their own way – creating their own special gatherings – finding ways to mark their own version of “Thanksgiving.”
My gratitude for my life, those in it, and the world in which I am privileged to live every day, is not isolated to a single day. However, I cannot imagine my life without a Thanksgiving.
Right now, as I type this, from the warmth of my little cabin next to my little lake with my not so little son lying on the floor in front of a fire, waiting for my wife, my daughter and our new little dog to arrive, I am reflecting on this year alone as one of gratitude and blessing.
There are moments, big and small, brief and sustained, that are touchstones for my thanks this year.
I am thankful growing strength of Spare Key as we begin to see the fruits of our labor the past five years begin to accumulate into an organization that is poised to embark on its next three years of serving more families than we served in the previous three years.
Thankful for the Board who have committed themselves to building our capacity, grateful for the small team of dedicated staff who work hard to help more and beyond humbled by those who donate their time and their money to help others they have never met and will never know “Bounce and not Break.”
I am honored by the new friendships I have made this year, the new beginnings with old friendships and the gratitude to know that some friendships simply need to honored by the wise words of Dr. Seuss who said, “Don’t cry because it’s over smile because it happened.”
Despite the ugly vitriol of our recent election I am grateful to live in this country and of all the opportunities each and every one of us have to make it a better, more prosperous country for everyone.
I am grateful for my right to be annoyed at others who I do not agree with and thankful for the advance of age that tempers my belief that I need to let them know I am annoyed!
It’s so easy to get discouraged, apathetic, disgusted, disgruntled and every other descriptive device about how tough it may feel some days to simply get out of bed in the morning.
I know that there are those in America – those who live in my city – who I may work with – who I know – those I love – who struggle every single day. I am not divorced from the reality that they find little to be thankful about some days – or every day.
I am thankful, to that end, that I can do something to help in some way to help others find the light in the dark. I’m not unable to make a difference. I can. I hope I do. I aspire to. Every day.
This year I will celebrate Thanksgiving at the physical place that calms me with the three people who inspire me to be thankful and grateful every day.
In closing with my gratitude for this time of year I am particularly thankful for a phone call from Heaven barely a month ago. A phone call that, despite its promise for tragedy, opened the door for healing, recovery and renewal for my child.
Throughout my life there have been those phone calls, literally and figuratively, from Heaven and the God who is in it.
I do not hear God’s voice on those calls.
But, I am grateful and thankful beyond these written words for what God tells me when he calls.
This year God called when I least expected it but when my child desperately needed me to pick up.
Thank God I did.
For that, for all that I have had this remarkable year of my life, I am thankful for the Thanksgiving that is mine each and every day.