Sloan Column: There is still reason to be thankful
Pardon me for stating the obvious, but 2020 has been a dumpster fire of a year. Like most of us, I can’t wait to see it in the rearview mirror.
Try as I might, it has been difficult not to be overwhelmed by the constant barrage of coronavirus cases and deaths, violence in our cities, a contentious presidential race, the endless mud-slinging political ads, racial disharmony and not being able to hug the people I love, lest I infect them or vice versa.
I’m sure I missed a few other downers, but it’s just too darn depressing to continue.
Then I remember Thanksgiving Day. This year, more than most, we all need to remind ourselves that there are a lot of good things going on in my life and in this world.
You think our world is in a bad way right now? Consider the state of our nation in 1863 when President Lincoln signed the proclamation making Thanksgiving a national holiday. The problems we face now are nothing compared to the bloodshed and turmoil of the Civil War. In the midst of all that he reminded us that we should set aside a day for “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”
With this in mind, here is this year’s list of things for which I am most thankful. First of all, I am thankful that we have managed to survive this year — so far — and pray next year will be better.
I give thanks for all the things we so often take for granted and shouldn’t – my health, a good home, a good job, the people who love me, and two wonderful church families. I thank God for all for them.
I am thankful for Deb, a wonderful woman who loves me (I’m not sure why) and puts up with me, and her daughter, Julia. I give thanks that I am called Papi by two grandchildren who own my heart. Five-year-old Lexi is the cutest question-asking bundle of energy ever. Ten-year-old Julius is and will forever be my hero. I am thankful for Colby, my best friend and the best dog anyone could ever ask for.
There are dozens of other “small” things: For the opportunity to check skydiving off my bucket list; for being able to enjoy baseball, even if it was a shortened season; for a gang of independent country musicians who decided to create something on Facebook called Sequestered Songwriters that makes Monday night one of the highlights of the week; for re-runs of “The Office” and for John Krasinski and “Some Good News;” and, last but certainly not least, for the life and music of the late John Prine, whom we lost this year.
But more than anything else, far, far more than anything else, I am thankful for my daughter, Amanda. Four years ago I lost my oldest daughter, Tracy, to a drug overdose. Earlier this year Amanda came to the realization that she had a problem similar to that of her big sister. Together, we checked her into The Owl’s Nest in Florence to get the help she needed. Now, eight months later, she is clean, happy and I get to see her beautiful face this Thanksgiving. To all the wonderful people at The Owls Nest, words are simply not enough to tell you how thankful I am for all of you.
In spite of all the craziness that is 2020, we all have many things for which we should be most grateful. I urge you to stop for a moment and take inventory of the last 12 months. I promise you will discover more than a handful of things for which to be thankful.