We have so much to be thankful for
This coming Monday, Oct. 8, is Thanksgiving here in Canada. For some, it’s nothing more than a statutory holiday — a break from the normal rigours of work and a respite from the hustle and bustle of their busy schedules. For most, though, it’s a time to pause and take stock of the many positive things in our lives.
At its very core, Thanksgiving is a day for reflection and soulsearching, a time to pause and think upon those many positive qualities in our lives because, as we know, far too many of us take such things for granted.
We shouldn’t need a special day to remind us of all the good things we have in our lives, but in this hectic work-a-day society in which we exist, many of us just push through our busy schedules, coping with the demands of this crazy world without stopping to catch our breath. Often, we don’t have time for personal introspection.
This isn’t a healthy existence, nor is it conducive to a happy environment, but at least once a year, on Thanksgiving we should pause, bow our heads and express our thanks, so let’s do that this week. I’ll start.
First off, I’m thankful for my health. As the years go by and I lose people I know or I hear of people getting sick with debilitating and life-threatening illnesses, I count my blessing that I hopesi am still relatively healthy. I know I must work harder to improve my condition and the need to face that challenge increases with each passing day.
Equally important to me as my own health, is the health and happiness of my family. I count my blessings every day for the unconditional love and support I receive from my wife and children. No matter what success one achieves in a career, it means nothing if you aren’t surrounded by people to share it with, family members to help you celebrate your successes and to console you in your failures.
So, what else am I thankful for? Well, I’m thankful for the many friendships I’ve forged throughout my lifetime. As the years drift not so slowly by, I am thankful for all the people I’ve met during my life’s journey, those whom I still call close friends as well as those whom I’ve lost touch with because, in the end, you all played a role in making me the person I am today.
I am also thankful that I am able to engage in a profession that I truly love and enjoy. While I’ve heard it said that writing is not a “real” job, I consider it to be a calling. I have been blessed that I’ve met people along the way who have encouraged and supported me in my efforts to pursue my passion and I am thankful for all those who pushed, prodded and sometimes even gave me a welldeserved kick in the pants as I made my way along the path I’ve chosen. I could not have done it without each and every one of you.
o, what else?
We live in precarious times and every day, as I watch news events as they unfold around the world, I am thankful that I live in a democratic country that allows me to be me. No country is a perfect utopia and Canada has many challenges, but compared to other countries around the globe, Canada is a paradise. Granted, there is room for improvement in dealing with issues such as poverty and the environment, but overall, I’m thankful that I am a Canadian.
We are so fortunate here in Canada that we can move freely about with ease, that we are free to pursue whatever profession we desire, that we can challenge our elected leaders, that we can speak out against those with whom we disagree, that we can observe whatever religion we’re drawn to, that we can live our lives without being forced to follow stringent rules that would control our every move. I am deeply thankful for all of that.
In that vein then, I am thankful for the brave men and women who fought for and who preserved our democracy so that you and I can have the rights and freedoms we so easily take for granted today. The world has seen some challenges in the past, but for the sacrifices of earlier generations who stood up to the oppressors and the dictators, our generation would be in a different place today. Saying thank you hardly seems sufficient, but it’s the most important gesture we can make.
Indeed, we are fortunate that we live in a relatively safe and secure part of the word. For the most part, crime is held in check and we can, with few exceptions, allow our children to play outside without fearing for their safety. That having been said, I am also thankful for the dedicated men and women who put on uniforms every day and protect us from evil forces who would do us harm.
Thank you as well, to all those who spring into action when an emergency happens or when disaster strikes. These brave souls often answer the call when we need them and they often do so at great jeopardy to themselves.
All of that is a lot to be thankful for, but really, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. When it comes right down to it, we have a long list of things that contribute to the quality of life we enjoy. I’m talking about the health-care system that, while it’s not perfect, is far superior to that of other countries.
And then there is the education system. Again, while not perfect, we should be thankful that our children have free access to a system that mostly prepares them to enter adulthood with a level of knowledge that will allow them to take up a job, or to enter a post-secondary institution, where they can improve their level of education so that they can pursue whatever career they choose. Let’s be thankful that we live in a country where the government does not dictate what our children will be.
So, Thanksgiving isn’t just about eating, playing and relaxing. Indeed, those of us who live in this wonderful part of the world are most fortunate that the region is free of the tragedy and human suffering that others endure every day. We are not naive. We know that poverty, disease and crime do exist here. But for the most part, we live in a pretty good place.
Despite the darkness that has rocked the world in recent times, there is still much for which we should be thankful for and we should reflect upon our blessings every day or at least, that’s the view from here.
There is so much to be thankful for.