With Thanksgiving near, long-ago recollections have flooded my mind: all my loved ones hovering around the kitchen picking on food morsels, family by the TV watching football, constant chatter at the dinner table, endless giggles and mischief we children always got into, and the fabulous feasts my mother and aunts prepared on this special day.
In my mind, they all look so young and vibrant, so energetic and full of life, though most of them are gone now or not in the best of health. This is how I remember them over 35 years ago. My mind has chosen to freeze these images, forever preserved in my head and held dear to my heart.
The grandchildren in these scenes have all grown up and we have children of our own. In the blink of an eye, we will be grandparents, and as my brother calls it, “The Cycle of Life” continues. Time really stops for no man. As we age, we see changes not only in ourselves and loved ones, but in our private lives, our communities, our government. Many of these changes have millions of people in distress, worried about everything under the sun. There doesn’t seem to be much peace of mind these days anywhere, any place, or with anyone.
Our worries begin with healthcare and are constantly pre-occupied with financial matters. How will we ever be able to retire? There is not enough money for our children to go to college, no job for those children once they get out of college. We see our elderly go back into the work force not because they want to, but because they have to. The problems are endless and it seems that it will take decades to pull ourselves out of this mess.
In the midst of all this turmoil, I feel we have forgotten the basics, simply because our minds are obsessed with other thoughts. We have forgotten to be thankful, to show appreciation for what we have, and for each other! As corny as that sounds, I believe that appreciation is sadly almost a thing of the past.
Our hurried lives have most people with their thumbs and noses glued to their iPhone or Blackberry. We forget to engage in human activity, like talking to our kids, our elders, and sharing our lives with one another. If you have a family, a job, some money, and your health, you are very blessed indeed.
My phone rings daily with people who want to sell their possessions and heirlooms because they are out of money, have no jobs, no income, and are about to lose their homes. It is a constant and humbling reminder of how fortunate I am!
If you are one of the lucky ones, give thanks for what you have and help out the less fortunate. Open your hearts this holiday season. You’ll be amazed at how much it will mean to those around you — even those you don’t know. That’s how to be thankful in these challenging times!
© 2010 Julie Hall