November 23, 2011 - Every night I tend to reflect on the hours I was awake that day. Did I fail, hurt or belittle any person, situation or entity.
If I answer to myself, "yes" I figure out what needs to happen the next day to make things right. (Most nights, thankfully, the affirmative answer isn't heard.)
And, every night I am appreciative of the opportunities afforded me. I am thankful for the opportunity of meaningful employment.
This work allows me to tend for my family, pets, friends and strangers. I can afford shelter and food for my family. I can afford helping those in need.
This work allows me to affect change in the communities I have called home since I was a child. It gives me a chance to emotionally connect with people I have, and may never meet. It is a privilege to make you smile, laugh, be sad, or angry.
I am thankful for the short, freckled mother who softly (and in the background) nurtured, nudged and guided her children with love, gentleness and calmness.
Her guidance has provided me opportunities to see above emotional crises with clarity others wish not use. Her calmness gave me levelheadedness -- and of course, love and gentleness beget more love and tenderness.
I'm thankful for a father, who with all his human frailties and flaws was able to express love, stick-to-it-ness and a sense that each of us (you, me, him) are worthy, and have value.
I'm thankful for a lot of things he said, but in particular for the phrase, "Life isn't fair. It owes you nothing."
I'm thankful for three younger sisters and for the tolerance they show their older brother.
Their tolerance has let me see how to be tolerant with others.
I am thankful for the opportunities gained from meeting each and every person (friend or foe) who has touched my life.
Each and every one has helped shape the person I am today, as each and every one I meet today, will help forge who I am tomorrow.
I'm thankful I have survived the mistakes I have made, giving me the opportunity to grow and be better to those lives around me.
I am thankful for the opportunity to be an "example" for my sons -- an example of how to act, what to do, and what not to do or how not to act.
One of the things I am grateful for is the knowledge that I don't know everything, and that is okay.
I am thankful I live in a place in space and time when I don't have to agree with you, nor you me -- and that we can live beside each other in peace.
I am comforted by the notion of "church," as I am dismayed by the hypocrisies of some who use "church/religion/god" as a crutch, excuse or weapon of destruction.
I am thankful I can say, "I don't know if there is a power greater than us," but at the same time profess hope there is.
I am thankful I can see above rhetoric and freely express this opinion without fear of retribution.
I am thankful some how, some way logic, reason, tolerance and patience found their way into my being.
I am grateful for the opportunity to love, to have faith even while knowing faith and logic and reason are contradictory by nature.
I am thankful for all the joy and pain of my life, for the opportunity to live, laugh and love today.
I am grateful for the opportunity to live right here and right now, because this opportunity allows me share this with you: Life is worth living and part of living is living through the mistakes for the opportunity to help another.
Happy Thanksgiving, readers! Live large and prosper.
Don is Assistant Publisher for Sherman Publications, Inc. He has worked for the company since 1985. He has won numerous awards for column, editorial and feature writing as well as for photography. He has two, sons Shamus and Sean and resides in the area. To read archived copies of his columns, click on his name, just under his picture up top . . . He can be e-mailed at: firstname.lastname@example.org