'Oh, Lord, it's hard to be grateful . . . .'
Wait, that's the wrong song. It is hard to be grateful, sometimes. We've all been there, too. Life comes at you, says the insurance ad. And, it does; to every one of us. But, I digress. It's funny how time changes us; hopefully, for the better (and not for the bitter). For some people, life comes at them, and gratitude does not enter into the equation.
For me, as I have gotten older (ouch!), I have mellowed and am happily able to sit back and recognize what a good friend of mine calls "mixed blessings." She says if every one of us was to put his or her problems in a large pot and each of us had to draw out someone else's problem(s) (not knowing what it would be), we would probably keep our own. And, I agree.
What I have learned, finally, is that every single person is dealing with something; some people are dealing with many things, and many people are simply dealing with too much. As Stokes Grymes, one of the nicest guys on the planet and I believe a founding member of the Innsbrook Rotary Club, once said, "it's not what happens to you that counts; it's what you do with what happens to you." With apologies to Stokes if I misquoted or, in fact, you never said that and someone else at a meeting said that. Like I said, "as I've gotten older . . ."
Every one who has a Norman Rockwell-like Thanksgiving (if you're too young to know who this dude was, you can Google him), raise your hand. Now, if your family is more like the Griswolds in the classic Chevy Chase National Lampoon's Vacation movie, raise your hand. Thought so. (Again, Google if you have to).
My point is not all families get along, or even like every family member in their clan. Who doesn't have at least one wacky relative or two who always add that dash of surprise at family gatherings. I call it free entertainment. Well, there's the cost of the turkey. For me, a good sense of humor, along with a grateful heart will take you a long way. As my son says, YOLO.
So, for all of us out there who can relate to the Griswolds of the world, Happy Thanksgiving and Good Luck at this year's event. As a wise philosopher once said (because I can't remember her name): even be grateful for the worst of situations, for they too have value; they teach us patience.
Any way, for those of you who do fall under Rockwell's Freedom From Want Family Thanksgiving utopia, maybe you could write a book or a blog for the rest of us?; something along the lines of "How to take the Dys out of Dysfunctional." It could be a best seller.
Everyone who knows me (all 10 of you) know that my dark(?) humor is mostly in jest. So, hope no offense is taken.
The truth is I have tremendous gratitude for the ongoing blessings I believe I have received throughout my life. I recently read an article stating that if you can count on three meals a day, you are better off than 90% of the world's population. That is a stunning and sobering statistic. It is almost hard to believe. But, I have friends who go on mission trips and I hear of the horrific living conditions -- no clean water, high birth death rates, how a 5-pack of Crayolas seems like a Disney vacation to a child in Niger.
This brings me and probably every one of us to one sobering truth: If we were blessed enough to be born or live in this country, we drew the winning lottery ticket on that day; and, nothing that comes our way -- loss, sickness, or you name it, can take away from that fact.
So, if my Thanksgiving gets a little wacky, I'm good with it. At the end of the day, I love every one of my family members -- especially the wacky ones -- they make the day fun. And, most of all, I am grateful to live in a country where I can earn a living, speak my mind, and worship how I want.
God Bless. And God Bless the USA (warts and all).
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