Not deferential enough: What are you thankful for?

Posted Wednesday, November 21, 2012 in Opinion

Not deferential enough: What are you thankful for?

by Gina Hamilton

I am sure I'm not the only one who thinks this has been a very long year. Maybe I'm just getting old (definitely that's true) but it seems to me that things are just taking longer and costing more, and everyone is getting more calcified in their positions than ever before.

Even so, there are things to be thankful for. Our long election season is finally coming to an end; even so, there are a few races in Maine and elsewhere as yet undecided. But the moderates seem to have carried the day, and perhaps, just perhaps, there will be a new day dawning in Congress and the State House.

I'm personally thankful that our family has weathered a few health storms this year and come out on the other side. I don't like needing health care, but I'm thankful that I have insurance and can access it when I need it.

I'm thankful for a bountiful harvest, and for six healthy chickens who are laying about a dozen healthy eggs every week.

I'm thankful for dear friends, dear family members, and dear animal companions who are part of our family. 

I am thankful for a warm home, a couple of working cars, and a decent computer or two on which to write.

I wish I could say that being thankful is something that comes naturally and daily to me, but like many others, I suspect, it doesn't. It ought to; I've seen first hand what happens when people don't have these blessings. I've seen people in want and need, people sick from preventable or easily treatable diseases who die from lack of medical treatment. People whose children don't have clean water to drink, or who don't have enough food to thrive. 

It's amazing, isn't it, that we can even begin to complain that we may not have everything we want in life, when so few in the world have what they need just to survive?

This year, for the holidays, like many others, I'll think about that. I'll buy a few gifts for a needy child, or sort out clothes or coats to give away. I'll donate to the Salvation Army and give food to the food bank, even if it means going without a special treat. I'll offer to take a child to a holiday concert or a ballet who might not be able to go otherwise.

And then, in January, like always, our own family's needs will take priority, and we'll forget, a little. 

I'd love to keep the needs of others always forefront in my mind, especially when one's own family is comfortable. But life has a way of getting in the way of that vision.

After the holidays, may I treat everyone I meet with the kindness and compassion I would want for my own family, and may I never forget that everyone has a hard road ahead. 

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

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