Have you noticed that Thanksgiving has become less celebrated in the media and has come under attack by Halloween and Black Friday? The media plays a huge role in not only how we spend our money, but how we view and spend our holidays as well. Unfortunately, this negative influence has eroded the core meaning of Thanksgiving and all that we have to be thankful for. So in spite of all the hustle and bustle, pitched tents in front of Best Buy, and consumer frenzy that plagues our ability to be content, I lay here in bed at 5:44 am Thanksgiving morning with a few thoughts to share about what I'm truly thankful for. 1. Faith Without a strong belief in God and the promises He has made to me, I certainly would have given up long ago. The silent whisper in my spirit that encourages me to keep moving forward despite my insecurities and countless inadequacies has been the catalyst that has spawned so many new adventures, experiences and relationships in my life. My gratitude for Him will never be sufficient, but as I listen to the stillness (besides the occasional snore of our six-year old boxer, Rocky) of this Thanksgiving morning, I lie in bed content with knowing that "All is well' despite any of the momentary challenges I may face. 2. Family
In a household of seven, including my beautiful wife of almost fifteen years, the yin to my yang, who truly embodies everything that I'm not and so much more. The occasional presence of our troubled nineteen year old son who has the world by the tail and more God given talent in his left pinky than I have in my entire body. A twelve year old son that has loads of untapped potential, yet will remain as cool as a fan in the eye of a rain storm with hundred mile an hour winds. An eight year old daughter that is sharp as a whip, the epitome of "GIRL" and wears me as a topaz ring around her little finger. My mother who has lived with us for the last five years, who is the most brilliant woman I've ever known that has never had an affinity for kids (hence me being an only child), but has become a wonderful grandmother. Oh yeah, and Rocky, the rescue dog with quite the checkered past, who acts like he has never known anything but the good life. In a word, we've got our fair share of problems and there is more than enough personality to go around, and I'm just talking about me. Now inject three and a half generations, gender, emotional hang-ups, character flaws and the host of other idiosyncrasies we share, you've got enough material for a least ten seasons of one of the funniest, saddest, most bizarre reality shows you'll ever want to see. We are perfectly imperfect and I'm incredibly thankful for the love, closeness and special moments we share as a family. 3. Freedom God bless America!
The many freedoms we have in our country are often taken for granted and I may be the chief culprit in this area. I often feel a sense of entitlement because I've known nothing other than my ability to make decisions and burn a trail based on a simple thought or a carefully orchestrated vision.
Our U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights provide so much freedom to learn, explore and discover life on our own terms, that I rarely feel resistance to living out my dreams or bound by the oppression so common in other parts of the world.
I'll admit that I can be a bit naive and I'm sure one can argue that there are plenty of taxes, rules and regulations imposed on Americans that strangle the "free" out of freedom. As a matter of fact, I could probably argue that point with some of the best of them. That said, when I look at my personal story and that of many of my friends and colleagues, the odds were clearly against us. Despite the challenges, struggles and pain endured along the way, the opportunities I've been afforded and the life I live is clearly that of a free man. Free to dream big, free to love unconditionally, and free to live out His plan for my life.
Let Freedom Ring!
I believe this is a widely misused and misunderstood word that is often viewed as a synonym for "monetary" riches. Now I've got something to say on this topic, as I know personally what it means to be "rich" by societies standards. But the riches I'm most thankful for is the good fortune to have close friends, deep meaningful relationships and a purpose in life that far exceeds the here and now. The fortune to have an impact in the lives of others that brings them closer to their true purpose in life.
As a coach and mentor, it has become more clear that my fortune lies in giving others hope, the inspiration to dream, and the courage to act in spite of their fears. My legacy is being written on the hearts and minds of the children (including my own) I teach, the warmth transferred by a simple smile and a hearty "Good Morning!" to my friends and colleagues, and the God given wisdom and insight I try to share with everyone I encounter throughout the day.
We are all blessed with the fortune to give away what has has been freely given to us. Share your good fortune and prosper!
And I wear my sunglasses at night...so I can, so I can, Keep track of the visions in my eyes.
You remember that song from the eighties by Corey Hart? I'm not dating myself as I was only eleven when it was released but it reminds of a saying I heard that I thought was pretty cool:
I wear my sunglasses at night, cause' my futures so bright.
It's a bit corny but so am I, and probably why I thought it was cool. I digress, as this post isn't about 80's music or pop stars that wear shades to hide from the bright lights of the paparazzi (although there's certainly some irony there), but about being thankful for my future. I often look at my life and think I should be at least ten steps closer to something, something bigger. You ever get caught up in the "I wish I was's"? I wish I was this, I wish I had that, etc. I believe we all dwell on our pasts from time to time, which takes our focus off of the one thing that has the greatest impact on our future, the present. The present, the opportunity to be alive, in good health and of sound mind is truly a gift in itself. The future, on the other hand, is the gift we have not yet received, but has been promised. So I leave you with this...
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
There will be plenty of time for corporate credit and talk of business financing later. Today is a day for being thankful and counting every blessing twice. Count yours today and every day and you will find that you are rich indeed.
Feel free to comment or share what you're thankful for this Thanksgiving Day!