Thanksgiving marks the beginning of a month or so of retrospection for most of us. It’s a month of self-examination, of looking into our life circumstances, of where we are, where we were, who we are, and who is doing life with us. Many times we think back through the years and wonder “What if?” We’re not going to do that today. Quite honestly, we probably shouldn’t be doing that at all.

Holiday seasons wrapped around Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hannukah, and New Years can be really good but can also be devastating. Which of these applies to us is based solely on our perspective.

What’s your perspective today?

Our perspective today could be based on a lifelong friend’s circumstances that is fighting for his life today in a California hospital after suffering a crippling massive heart attack on Monday. His children from as far away as Florida rushed to be with him, each unsure of their life perspective this holiday season because their Dad may not be part of their lives much longer. It could be based on the recent loss of a job or even a spouse, the death of a loved one. In the mirror opposite, it could be one flooded with the joy of becoming a parent for the first time, the pending marriage in the aftermath of a tragic breakup from which fear has dominated for years thinking there was no hope for a fulfilling relationship.

The perspective this holiday season each of us looks through may be different. It may be dominated by negative thoughts of crushing horrors or the glee of everything working out. But what is worth contemplating as we head into a new year is that we can do just that: examine choices that we have every right to make for our own lives. Most of our World neighbors don’t have those types of options. And they’re stuck in circumstances of which they have little or no control.

For just a moment while we’re together, let’s just put aside our fear, our pain, our worry, our loneliness, our anger, our jealousy, our pettiness, our lack of whatever we lack for, and our superiority. Let’s spend a little time today (and in upcoming days), pause, and say, “Thanks.”

Let’s try something different today. And I’m with you on this. Let’s just take a pause. Let’s don’t forget about the bad things we’re dealing with. Let’s just not concentrate on those today. In fact, let’s not even think of ourselves for the next few minutes. Think about your relatives — a cousin, an aunt, a grandmother, maybe a brother or sister or a Mom or Dad. Maybe you will not see them today or even this season. And maybe there are some awful hurts that you have experienced from these relationships. Know this: there is something good that comes from everything that happens to us if we let it. So instead of concentrating on the hurt you may have felt and may still feel this very moment, think about the good things they brought into your life at some point. Whatever those good things are were and still are valuable. And we’re blessed for having those good things. Pause for a moment and quietly say, “Thank You.”

Try today to take a few moments alone. You may not be able to do that until the food is all eaten, dishes all washed and put away, and everyone heads out to get set for Black Friday shopping, but find a few moments that you can be quiet with just your thoughts, your memories. Try this: think slowly and carefully about all those people in your life who have invested some moment, some treasure, some positive words or maybe just smiles into your life. Speak their name quietly and say, “Thank you.” Go down your list and do it over and over and over.

The tears will come. The smiles and giggles will come. But what will certainly come is wave after wave of gratitude for your even having them in your life. Do you know what else will come? An overwhelming desire to get on the phone! Do it. But don’t do it for you. Do it for them.

I’ll close by saying this: I’m not sure who is listening or reading this today. But whoever you are, wherever you are, I want you to know that I’m thankful you have taken a few moments to look or listen-in. Your doing so is not lost on this 66-year-old Cajun who is fighting back tears of thankfulness for you being here.

You’re each a treasure to far more people than you know.

Enjoy those you spend the day with. Call those you love who you can’t be with today. When you speak to them, make sure you tell them how much you love them and how thankful you are that they are part of your life. You will never regret doing so. And they won’t regret you’re doing so either.

Happy Thanksgiving!


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