South Shore Breaker

We have so much to be thankful for

- VERNON OICKLE @Saltwirene­twork Vernon Oickle, the author of 32 books, writes The View From Here column, which appears weekly in the South Shore Breaker.

This coming Monday, Oct.

10, is Thanksgivi­ng here in Canada. For some, it's nothing more than a statutory holiday, a break from the normal rigors 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 soul-searching, a time to pause and think of the many positive qualities in our lives because, as we know, far too many of us dwell on the negative and take such things for granted. This is especially true during the pandemic.

While the South Shore may be immune to much of the tragedy and strife that often grips other parts of the world, we know that war, poverty, disease and crime do exist. We shouldn't need a special day to remind us of all the good things, 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 but despite the darkness that has rocked the world in recent times, there is still much for which we should be thankful. At least once a year, on Thanksgivi­ng we should pause, bow our heads and express our thanks. In what has become an annual tradition for followers of this column, let's do that this week.

For starters, be thankful you woke up this morning. If you're in good health, be thankful for that.

If you are ill, be thankful that you can access free medical care. Yes, it's a fact that the system is not perfect, but it's better than what is available in most other places and we should be thankful for that.

If you got out of bed this morning and went about your business on your own steam, then be thankful for that.

If you opened your eyes this morning and marvelled at the wondrous colours of autumn or looked into the faces of your loved ones, be thankful that you can see.

If you awoke this morning to the sounds of that annoying alarm going off or the cheerful sound of your children laughing or the biting sound of a dog barking, be thankful you can hear.

Be thankful that you have family around you. If you are a parent, be thankful for your children and take the time to let them know how you feel. Count your blessings and tell them you love them.

Surely, you must have someone you call a friend or, if you're really lucky, a group of people you call friends. Be thankful they are in your life.

Here in Nova Scotia, we live in relative safety away from the wanton destructio­n of war and terrorist attacks. Be thankful for that.

In this part of the world we should also be thankful that we enjoy a comparativ­ely low crime rate, making our rural communitie­s wonderful places to work, retire and raise our families.

We also live in a place where neighbours still extend a helping hand without expecting anything in return. Be thankful for that.

There are still places in the area where you can go away and leave your doors unlocked. That's something to be thankful for. We should also be thankful that we live in communitie­s where we can go for a walk after dark if we want to and still feel safe.

With the world's environmen­t continuing to deteriorat­e at an alarming rate, be thankful our little piece of paradise is still relatively clean and pristine, for now at least.

You might also be thankful you live in a place where, if you step out on your front lawn, you can still see the stars at night and the sun in the daytime, and where you can breathe smog-free air.

When you turn on the tap and lift that glass to your lips, be thankful you have a supply of fresh, clean water.

Considerin­g the oppression suffered by so many people in other countries by powerful regimes that have little or no regard for humanity, be thankful that we enjoy such democratic freedoms here in Canada.

Be thankful that if you don't agree with any political leader, you have the freedom to stand up and say so. In fact, we enjoy many freedoms in Canada such as the freedom of movement and the freedom to follow whatever career path we choose. We should be thankful we live in such a country.

Let's also be thankful that we live in a mostly tolerant society where you can be who you are and follow your own lifestyle.

If you are a religious person, you must be thankful you live in a country that allows you to practice the religion of your choice. If you don't observe a religion, then be thankful you have the freedom to follow your own path.

If you have a job you enjoy, or maybe even one that you don't enjoy so much, be thankful anyway that you have a means to provide for yourself and your family.

If you are going home tonight to your house, be thankful that you have shelter.

If you had breakfast this morning and will have dinner (or supper) tonight be thankful for the food on your table.

No matter how tired you may be this evening, be thankful that your child needs help with his or her homework or wants to play. Be even more thankful that your son, but particular­ly your daughter, lives in a place that allows both genders to attend school and to learn.

Be thankful as well that you live in a neighbourh­ood where you can let your children go outside to play without fear of them being gunned down.

If you can read this column, then be thankful that someone, perhaps many years ago, taught you to read. If someone is reading this to you, be thankful that someone cares enough to do it for you.

As you sit down to your Thanksgivi­ng meal this coming weekend, be thankful for the fellowship and food that you're about to share.

And finally, as you turn out the lights and fall asleep tonight, be thankful that you do not hear the sounds of bombs and gunfire outside your home.

From all of this you can see that we have much for which we should be thankful and we should reflect upon our blessings everyday or at least that's the view from here.

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