Nearly every Thanksgiving, I write a column to remind myself of the many blessings I enjoy. While writing the annual Thanksgiving essay on gratitude is useful for me, I recognize that it might get tedious for other readers. This year, I’m taking a different approach and considering things I wish I could add to my list of reasons to be grateful:
- More knowledge, less ignorance
- A more peaceful, less violent world – includes wars, crime, domestic violence, etc.
- More capacity for self-reliance and more appreciation of our interdependence
- Better access to medical care worldwide (particularly for children)
- A cure for cancer – we keep making progress, but we have a long way to go
- Cure for mental illnesses – a much longer way to go
- Greater tolerance of our differences, particularly when those differences do nothing to threaten my family or me
- Better priorities – less greed, more equality
- Greater forgiveness
- More opportunities – jobs, creativity, self-fulfillment, freedom from repressive authority, want, fear
- New police and fire facilities in Albany
Depending on how specific I choose to be, I could probably produce a much longer list. I stopped at 11 because I wanted to leave room to explain that I am grateful for the progress we have made on nearly all these issues during my lifetime. Comparing my life to my father’s, he lost two sisters as young children who died of diphtheria and appendicitis. He also lost a sister as a young adult to a medical condition that is easily treated today. My father’s family endured the Great Depression, where they were fortunate to have potatoes but little else to eat. I have spent some time in war zones, but my father served in two wars where millions of people died and where he was personally at great risk on many occasions. His sacrifices helped make a better life possible for me.
Even though we did not receive approval to build new police and fire stations this year, I’m confident the community will develop a plan to construct them before long. People are understandably concerned about costs and want strong assurances that they are getting good value before making a large investment.
I hope I can make some contribution toward achieving at least a few of the items on my list, and I know I can do more for several of them. My Thanksgiving wish for all who read this column is a peaceful and happy celebration of what’s important to you with a person or people you care about who feel the same about you.