Posted by: justawriter | November 24, 2009

Far Afield – Thanks for the memories

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine challenged people to list one thing they were thankful for on Facebook every day. It’s been an interesting exercise trying to think of things that were personal enough without being trivial and broad enough to interest others without becoming platitudes.
It is like the beauty pageant contestants’ dilemma, who are expected to say they love world peace and puppies. Such expressions are likely true enough, but are hardly enough to distinguish oneself from the billions of people who also want world peace and love puppies. Especially when one is a writer, there is an expectation that you will be more original, or at least express yourself more creatively than the average Joe.
It isn’t often that we are called on to express what we are thankful for, except during this time of year. Most of the time we are so busy with the normal hustle and bustle of life that we don’t take time to reflect on the things we love and make us glad to be alive.
For example, on the days when I am typing my fingers to the bone to get a paper out, I don’t really have time to stop and think how lucky I am, first, to have a job with the national economy in the dumps and secondly, one that pays me to do something I really enjoy. I have always been an information junkie, trying to read everything I could get my hands on from the back of the cereal box to the last volume of the encyclopedia. How cool is it that I am paid to go out and learn stuff and then tell all of you what I have learned? For me it is a match made in heaven.
I’m sure there are many of you who feel the same way. Whether your passion was animals or making things grow or figuring out how things work, it is wonderful to have a passion for what you are doing. It doesn’t really matter if you are a veterinarian or a farmer or an engineer, if you get up in the morning thinking that you are going to go do what you were meant to do.
This isn’t limited to work hours either. The luckiest children are those whose mothers and fathers are passionate about being the best parents ever. Others exercise their passions as hobbies in their spare time. Beulah wouldn’t have so many lovely flowers in the summer without the many residents who love getting their hands dirty and coaxing beauty out of the cold ground every spring.
There are even those for whom life is always lemonade. They take the things the rest of us complain about and make it something to be thankful for. A chore of raking up the fall leaves becomes a game of who can make the biggest mess by jumping in the leaf pile. My dad and his lady friend always washed and dried dishes together and made it part an intimate quiet time for themselves every day. There are many ways to make the workday world something to be thankful for.
We all get bogged down with the irritations of life. Into every life some rain must fall. Or, given my history with vehicles, out of every engine some oil must leak. We read all the time about people who have overcome so much more and are still thankful for what they have. There are children who grew up horribly abused but still managed to become reasonably sane adults. There are our veterans who have come home to loving families, and families of soldiers who will never be coming home. Most rebuild their lives and go on, changed forever by what they’ve experienced but grateful for what they have.
Like everyone, I have things in my life I wish had been different. But I recognize that on the whole I have been luckier than most. I grew up in a loving and stable family. I’ve been able to pursue careers that have been interesting if not well paying. I’ve been reasonably healthy. There were times when I’ve been insufficiently grateful for the things in my life when some things haven’t gone so well. Sometimes I think that is life’s way of rubbing your nose in it so that we appreciate all the wonders that surround us every day.
Most of all, I am grateful that I have readers. You allow me the privilege of giving a voice to your community. Without readers, a writer is just talking to himself. So I hope you accept my thanks for reading my words and my wish for a wonderful holiday season.


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