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Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Giving Thanks Is More Important (in the worst of times)

It's almost Thanksgiving, and I would bad a bad blogger if I didn't write something appropriate for the holiday, as I likely have already done over the past 11 years.  Of course, the difference in 2020 is the fact that it has been literally the worst year possible for so many out there, me not necessarily excluded.  How or why to give thanks when...

...the world is in the grips of a pandemic

...so many in our country believe that our nation is on the wrong path

...so many are struggling financially

...we have a sitting president who is trying to engage in a judicial coup d'├ętat

...so many of us will not be able to spend our holidays with our extended families

The answer?

We just do.  We still give thanks.  In fact, at no time is giving thanks more important, in part because some of these things lay bare realities of our world which we would just as soon forget.  Being forced to acknowledge reality is in itself a blessing, all be it one that's sometimes tough to swallow.  Especially for some.

So what I'm going to do is talk about what I am thankful for, acknowledging full well that there are things happening that I don't understand but which may in fact be lessons to be learned.  Call that whatever you like; maybe a good word, for now, is simply "Faith".

Here's my list.

I am thankful for my wife.  There are times when I genuinely wonder why in the heck anyone would want to spend time with me.  I am admittedly not much fun.  In fact, my idea of doing something "fun" is to actually sit alone in my office working on some inane thing.  Yet she loves me for who I am.  Better yet, she sees things in me...good things...that I have probably been conditioned to not see myself.  She is also my hero.

I am thankful that my children are healthy.  No other explanation needed.  Given the circumstances, that's truly a very good thing, and I hope it stays that way.

I am thankful for my job.  In 2020 I spent slightly over 6 months out of work.  In fact, never in my entire adult life have I never had so much time not working.  Not even in college.  The 6 months weren't without their trials and frustrations, as noted on these pages, and while I presented a confident face to the world, the reality is that I had more than a few "moments of doubt and pain".  Fast forward to now and I could not have imagined in July where I would be in November.  I don't know what the future holds for my career, but what I do know is this:  I think I am in the right place.  You can learn more about the professional me through my LinkedIn profile.

I am thankful for hope.  While there is so very much confusion, anger, and disarray on a national political level, we do have hope.  This is the hope of a president-elect who does not constantly rage tweet.  Of someone who wants to be the leader of the entire country, not just the parts that support him.   A president that will tear down walls instead of building them up.

I am thankful for the "givers".  It seems that, over the past few years, some in our society made "taking"...selfishness...greed...anger...xenophobia...good things.  Yet throughout all of this, we still have those who are selfless in their giving.  This includes people like nurses (under-paid superheroes if ever there was such a thing), police, those working with the disabled/those in need, people who help/protect and protect animals, and many, many others.  It's nice to be reminded that greed is not in fact good and that some still risk it all in the name of giving to others. 

I am thankful for my health.  I have not always been so very kind to my body, and I need to do better.  Yet in spite of myself, I am still reasonably healthy.  I need to do better though.

I am thankful for my friends and my network.  I am thankful for every email, text message, LinkedIn message, and phone call of support I received while I was out of work.  I am particularly thankful for those who asked for my help during this time.  It meant a lot to me to feel useful.  I hope I can return those favors in the months and years to come.

I am thankful for the gift of expression.  These blog postings may be self-indulgent, poorly written nonsense, but they are mine.  While so much of my life has changed over the 12 years of this blog, the blog itself has been something of a steady companion, chronicling the world both inside and outside my head.  It's not much, but it is mine. 

I hope that you...whoever you are...can find the time to give thanks, even in these seemingly worst of times.


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