Thankful. Grateful. Blessed.

Thanksgiving Day ::

  • An expression of thanks
  • A public celebration
  • A day set apart for giving thanks to God

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I pay particular attention to the very good life I am fortunate to live and the countless things I am grateful for. The holidays can bring out all kinds of emotions – incredibly joy spending time with family and friends, enjoying a beautiful meal together, taking a bit of well-deserved vacation – but it can also be stressful. 

Instead of striving for perfection, I hope we can simplify things, remain lighthearted and consider that mishaps and strong personalities can be the source of the instances we may find funny at future gatherings. How fortunate are we, in these troubled times, to be able to sit down and enjoy a beautiful meal with loved ones, surrounded by safety and comfort. For those of you who have volunteered on this holiday (or any occasion), our blessings become abundantly clear and it's hard not to recognize the good life we live.

I remember in the 80’s when I was married to Michael McNeill, I had volunteered our time to Glide Memorial in San Francisco on the morning of Thanksgiving. I thought we would be committing ourselves to about an hour at the church. We ended up delivering meals from 9:00am to 4:00pm to families in some of the neediest and most dangerous areas of the city. Later, we would reflect on some of the funniest and most bizarre events of the day. A church member, Charles, rode in our car as I drove. He directed us to parts of the city where we needed to get to early “before they start shooting.” “Shooting what?” I asked. “Each other.” Oh.

The things you take for granted, someone else is praying for.

Charles became, at a very early age, a drug dealer, gang member, addict, thief, felon, fathered a child, served jail time and became rehabilitated through the incredible programs and services at Glide Memorial. Charles gave Michael and me a remarkable gift that day. We listened for hours to the heartbreaking tales that made up this young man’s life. It was a vivid reminder of the many blessings that made up our rich and abundant life. For me, this experience created a memorable and rewarding holiday. No matter how mundane or tough your situation may seem, there is always another story.

On this beautiful celebration, I wish you a world of good health, peace, joy, love and laughter.

I don’t know who authored the following quote, but my wish is that we hold this true for not only today, but all year long.

Never let the things you want make you forget the things you have.

When you love what you have, you have everything you need. I love my life, I love my family and I love my friends.

Thankful, grateful, blessed.