Thursday, November 22, 2007

Giving More Than Thanks

FAIR OAKS, Calif. - Dawn, Thanksgiving Day morning. At 37 degrees, it is cold for these parts. The world is quiet - there is much to be grateful for. These pages, for almost two years and in many of nearly 300 posts, have reflected this irrefutable fact. Personally to be sure, my lot in life has improved beyond what I ever dreamed possible. Just a few short years ago, my imagination wasn’t that big… I didn’t even dare hope for what has proven to be a life beyond my wildest dreams.

I used to believe that fame and fortune, or at least fortune, would bring contentedness. Although even in my younger years the evidence did not support this notion, there are even more profound examples today. I thought happiness was an externally influenced reality… that stuff would make me whole. It never did. It never could. I never knew. It seemed so simple: Get what I want when I want it and happiness followed. Unfortunately or not, gain without pain is a rather hollow victory and never satisfying. Stuff is a byproduct of happiness, success follows effort, effort creates worth and all of that brings all that stuff that I thought I needed so badly. I like my stuff, but is has nothing to do with who I am.

The list of gratitude is endless. I give thanks on a daily basis. Of late, it is not so much for the material items in my life, but more for those intangible qualities that have created them. Success can be measured in a number of ways. Today I am most grateful for the people in my life. My friends and family have always meant the world to me… but today I am part of that world. It is beautifully simple. I am now a participant in my own life; I am not just watching it go by. By placing one foot ahead of the other and living one day at a time, I have found peace in my world.

And my world is a subset of our world, a world that is in desperate need of more peace. There is plenty wrong in the world today, but if one looks hard enough, there is plenty right as well. It is my business to keep an eye on the government and this one has kept me busy. But even with all the mistakes, some of them monumental, no administration is bigger than this nation or, perhaps more accurately, the people of America. We, as a nation, have worked hard, sacrificed much and above all persevered even when there was not much hope. And we made it.

These are characteristics that Americans for generations have held close. There are times when it appears that we have perhaps become too comfortable, that we are resting on our collective laurels… that we are moving towards national retirement. Perhaps there is some truth to this perception; maybe with the ebb and flow of social evolution, we are facing generational indifference. Could it be that the apathy I was living is reflective of a population on cruise control? Maybe, but it is never too late to wake up and get moving. I am certain that my greatest days are ahead of me and likewise, so are America’s.

It helps if you believe it. So on Thanksgiving today, let us not only give thanks and reflect on how fortunate we are, let us also rededicate ourselves to our greatness personally… and nationally. Let us show the world not how powerful we are, but how benevolent America’s people are. Let’s remember our strength is not in our size or our wealth but in our compassion and our generosity. And let us not forget that it was the sacrifice and work of our predecessors to whom we owe our good fortune. Give thanks, yes, but also give your word, your sweat and your dedication, for these are the qualities that made this nation great. Our best days are still ahead of us.

21 comments:

gautami tripathy said...

That is one good post. I always considered that whatever I get out of this world, I have to give back at least a little. I try to. At time I despair becos what I do is not enough. I work for abused girls. I can counsel and give them my time or whatever else I can do for them. However I regret, I cannot prevent it. I do wish I could in some ways. How do you protect a girl from her own relatives? At times A father?

I am sorry I am going in another direction. This is not I meant to write. This just poured forth.

Thanks for this post...

Michele sent me here to wish you Happy Thanksgiving.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Well said Mije!

A very Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! May happiness continue to be yours, my dear.

Jerry in Tampa said...

a perspective of a wise and experienced soul.......
well expressed....

Happy Thanksgiving!

Michele sent me and I will be back!

Jerry in Tampa

November Rain said...

michelle sent me and I am speechless...


I loved the summary and yes I feel we show greatness in our ability to love and give

Happy T day

KT Did said...

I loved reading this! You are a true spirit and I hope we only do better and Thank You for your Thanks! I always love to get lifted by others--you did it!
Happy Thanksgiving Mr. A!
KT Did

David said...

i am thankful, for our great nation, and for clear minds like yours, that can express what needs to be said, beautifully.
Long time no see, bro'
Glad you are back at michele's

wordnerd said...

As always, a wonderfully inspiring post. Thank you, and Happy Thanksgiving.

Lee Ann said...

It was so good to see you at my place. I think this was great..."let us not only give thanks and reflect on how fortunate we are, let us also rededicate ourselves to our greatness personally… and nationally"
HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
~XO
LEE ANN

Bob-kat said...

Happy Thanksgiving!

I think your post says it all, sometimes it's not enough just to be thankful, sometimes we need to give something back. as ever, you have said it all so much better than I could!

kenju said...

Mike, it's late, but I wanted to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. I hope it was great.

This post ought to be printed on the front page of many newspapers every year at this time!

BreadBox said...

Came by to comment earlier, via Michele's --- and as I had the comment window open, in walked our Thanksgiving guests, ten minutes early. So, I'm sorry that it took so long to get back to comment, but grateful that our guest think that we are the sorts of people you should come by early to visit (and then stay a while:-)

Happy Thanksgiving,
N.

Kittyn said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you!

Thank you for being a part of my blogging world, you make it a better place.

Snaggle Tooth said...

Sometimes, it's tough to have confidence in our leaders to help us all look good to the rest of world.
If we all become something for our fellow country-persons to be grateful for, set the goal, n go for it, our nation will flourish as a by-product. No one can regret being an active part of the whole pie... many good apples are needed-

Snaggle Tooth said...

N Happy Thanks Giving,
(thanks for the visit!)

BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

Love your post.

Gratitude has just as much to do with our attitude as it does with what is actually going on around us. In my humble opinion, it is about how we handle what comes down the pike, our perceiption and attitudes.

Happy THanksgiving.

The Zombieslayer said...

I'm like Gene Roddenberry. I believe that the future is something to look forward to, and yes, the best days are yet to come.

I thought happiness was an externally influenced reality… that stuff would make me whole. It never did. It never could. I never knew. It seemed so simple: Get what I want when I want it and happiness followed. Unfortunately or not, gain without pain is a rather hollow victory and never satisfying.

Yeah, me too. But I grew up. Unfortunately, too many people I know think this way still and are my age or older than I am.

Barbara (aka Layla) said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Mike...a day or two late but thankful to know you any day of the year :)

mckay said...

i had to come back and reread your post. thanksgiving leftovers a few days later are somehow even better than the first partaking.

thanks so much for your wonderful writing and expressing things that are simple, profound and universal.

happy holidays, sammy.

flleenie said...

(If only the whole world believed.)

I am forever thankful for my friends' & familys' health & well-being.

Hope you had a nice holiday Mr. A.!

Cindy Breninger said...

Wow, this gave me goosebumps-I loved it! I am in Rocklin so nice to meet ya, neighbor! :)
Cindy
www.adayinthelifeofcindy.blogspot.com

The Harbour of Ourselves said...

yet again your writing, what you see when you don't look with your eyes, inspires me mike

your take on the world and how we can shape it is a constant encouragement my friend

shalom, with a good keg of beer