Thursday, November 27, 2008

I AM Thankful

As I spent Thanksgiving with old friends, it was easy to reflect on just why I am thankful today. It was just about a year ago I was hospitalized and ended up having the quadruple bypass surgery, and the five month recovery time. So, it has been a very different year. Obviously, I'm pretty dern happy I'm even on this little ball of rock in this here cosmos.

But, it is so much more than that. Yeah, I've got a roof over my head; keeping warm or cool as the season requires, plenty to eat and enough income to keep my head above water (just barely, but that ain't the point). When your mortality is shoved down your throat, one begins to see life in a different sort of fashion.

The matriarch of the family I broke bread with today had us all read a section of the story of the Pilgrims. It had been years since I'd heard that story, and she was right - we needed to hear the reason for celebrating Thanksgiving as we do. Our country was first and foremost founded on the principle of religious freedom, and this is the only place in the world that has this as a cornerstone of national policy and tradition. There are so many unique things about this wonderful country we call home that no other entity shares completely. Our radical Constitution, with the unheard of idea that we all have Rights inherent to ourselves, not from a benevolent King or some such other earthbound deity, has no equal - period. No other country comes close. So, I feel thankful that the big lottery of life placed me in this greatest experiment of mankind. I don't have to worship whatever someone in power has decided is the proper godlike being, or official state religion. Neither do you, and if you decide there is nothing to worship, you don't have to. Personally, I thank G_d for all these things, and I try to at least talk to him a couple times a day. Without Him looking out for me, I'd be toast.

There are so many things that have flowed from just being here at this point in time. A hundred years ago, I'd have kicked off long before now. Thanks to the freedom so many smart people have enjoyed we have vast technological resources that wouldn't be possible under different forms of government. Just the fact that I was able to sit in comfort and drive for fifteen minutes to my friend's home in an affordable vehicle, supported by a complex network of services designed to keep it running for a minimal portion of my income, would astonish a Pilgrim for sure. Beats riding a horse - it was cold today. I was able to eat portions of foods that were transported into this area from great distances, also economically. Just these few examples puts us ahead of the rest of the world.

So, yeah, I'm thankful for the technological bounty our country has given us. But that isn't all I'm thankful for.

I'm pretty tickled that I have such good friends - people who have stuck with me through thick and thin. I'm very happy to be in a community that has me as a member, Groucho Marx's famous quote not withstanding (I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as member). After the trials I've seen this year, good friends are truly a blessing, and I appreciate everybody who has shown me kindness. Some I haven't even met personally, and they are very important as well. Some I had not heard from in years, and I welcome the interaction. The everyday, see all the time type - well, I owe these people a debt of gratitude that I will never be able to repay.

And my family - there aren't many of us left, but I couldn't have made it without my relatives. I'm even thankful for my dog and cat - they love me unconditionally (as long as the food keeps coming!).

So, on this day of reflection and thanks, I just want to say thank you to all of you out there, sharing this existence on this tiny spinning ball. I hope your day was as rewarding as mine.


Anonymous said...

We have to be thankful for the blessings we have. :)

Frank W. James said...

Good thoughts and comments.

All The Best,
Frank W. James

Kathy B. said...

Good thoughts Jeffro. I am grateful for so many blessings. I am grateful that while we've got an economy that is awfully bleak, we know it will get better. I'm grateful that you are back to good health and write such a darned good blog. Happy Thanksgiving.