Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving, 2009

Today is the fourth Thursday in November, which we here in America celebrate as Thanksgiving Day. It was originally established as a holiday by President Abraham Lincoln on October 3, 1863, at the height of the Civil War, when many people didn't think there was much to be thankful about. Over at his blog, John has the text of President Lincoln's proclamation, which is worth taking a minute to read. Click on over and read it. I'll wait.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, because it's the one day out of the year that makes me focus on all the things I have to be thankful for. Most of us (me included) spend our days focused on the day-to-day problems and issues of life, and don't take the time to think about the things that really matter. On this day - even if it's only once a year - I can sit back and think about the good things:

The love and support of parents who knew how to say both yes and no.

Three great children who, despite their father's failings, have grown to be strong, successful adults of whom I am proud beyond words.

Four (five in April!) wonderful grandchildren.

A wonderful wife who keeps me humble when necessary, and picks me up when I'm down.

Good friends, live and virtual.

A job.

A home.

Good health.

There are always things beyond our reach, things we'd like to have that we think would make life even better, but I'm happy with what I have. Well, yes, I would like to have a functioning Congress filled with wise statesmen who care more about the nation than about their narrow political philosophies, but I guess some things are just too much to ask.

On this Thanksgiving Day, this poem (which I ran in this space last year at this time, and whose author remains unknown) sums up how I feel:

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve -
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.

I asked for help, that I might do greater things -
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.

I asked for riches, that I might be happy -
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.

I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life -
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.

I got nothing that I asked for,
But everything I had hoped for.

Despite myself, my prayers were answered.

I am, among all men, most richly blessed.

I wish all of you a very safe and happy Thanksgiving, wherever you are.

More thoughts tomorrow.



Amanda said...

This is a good holiday to have.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

John said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Bilbo.

Mike said...

"most richly blessed."

As we all should feel.

Bandit said...

Happy Thanksgiving Bilbo.

Melissa B. said...

A Thanksgiving Limerick, DC-style:

I just heard that two turkeys’ demise
Was avoided, to their great surprise.
The big turkey in power,
In the eleventh hour,
Gave them pardon, along with the pies.

Hope you and yours have the Happiest!
(And no, I did not write that limerick...but I did Google it!)