Friday, December 2, 2011

As Christmas approaches and the warm glow of Thanksgiving is still fresh in my mind, it is a good time to reflect on the many things for which I should be grateful but too often overlook.

Most of us have little difficulty weaving languid tales of woe at a moment’s notice. Indeed, we often revel in regaling any who will listen with our personal lists of all that is wrong with the world. Unfortunately, we need not wander too far afield to find examples of real tragedy, injustice, or even downright evil to fan the flames of our negativism as these flow daily as freely and predictably as the ocean tides from our television sets, radios, and newspapers, while the far more prevalent everyday occurrences of acts of kindness, selflessness, and quiet heroism go largely unheard, unseen, and unnoticed. Yet they are there, for all the world to see, if only we take the time to notice and to gratefully absorb their import.  

My Personal List of Things for Which I am Most Grateful:

- A God who loves me despite the many faults that make me unworthy of His love;
- A wife who has been my best friend for three fourths of my life, even when I have been so much less of a friend to her than she deserves;
- Parents who have given up everything that I may have a life better than they enjoyed and never made me feel the weight of their sacrifice;
- Grandparents who imparted unforgettable lessons through their example that include: prize your good name above all other things; there is no shame in poverty but for poverty of spirit; hard work will see us through any adversity; and there are many things far more precious than our own lives;
- Friends who have helped me get through the most difficult times of my life;
- The opportunity to serve others through meaningful work;
- Exceptional colleagues with whose help anything is possible;
- Teachers in public and private institutions that instilled in me a love of learning through high school and beyond;
- The men and women who put on a uniform every day and voluntarily undertake the dangerous work of policing our streets, putting out our fires, rescuing us from harm and ensuring our freedom through their selfless sacrifice in places far, far from home;
- The privilege to live in an adopted country that has welcomed, accepted and nurtured me, bestowed upon me the honor of its citizenship and to which I am most proud to pledge my allegiance above all others, grateful beyond words for the opportunity to live in the greatest country that the world has ever known.

Happy Holidays to one and all!

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