We have so much to be thank­ful for

South Shore Breaker - - Page Two - VER­NON OICKLE THE VIEW FROM HERE ver­non.l.oickle@eastlink.ca

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.

123RF

There is so much to be thank­ful for.

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