It’s Time to Give Thanks

By | November 26, 2020
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Happy Thanskgiving

It’s Time to Give Thanks

In this bizarre year of the Coronavirus Pandemic, things don’t seem right anymore – and it seems, sometimes, that the world will never be the same again. And perhaps for those of us who are older and who have lived decades – it may never be the way it used to be. Whoever dreamed we’d ever see people walking around with masks covering their noses and mouths – and keeping away from family members just to keep them safe?  I never imagined the world could be so completely turned upside down.

So, sometimes these days, it really doesn’t seem like I have a lot to be thankful for.

The trouble with getting older is everything you remember is painted with the brushes of the past. Those brushes, the echoes, and reflections of the past color everything I do today. And sometimes the colors of my memories of moments long past are dull and lifeless and even forlorn – if you can even imagine such colors.

It’s hard to imagine, but I’m sure that when the moments now in my memory were being made the colors were bright, dazzling, vibrant, and eye-catching. The grass was greener, the autumn leaves were redder, the sky was bluer, the sun was brighter, the days were longer, the winters shorter, back in the days when my life stretched before me like an endless highway – a highway so long that it disappeared into the horizon. With forever stretching before me, my choices were infinite and unlimited.

It’s funny how life catches up with you. As John Lennon so aptly said “...Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans…

Now the road that once stretched forever before me is much shorter and I feel the weight of time slowing me down. My choices are limited not by my imagination but by the constraints of my age and the world around me.

My dreams though are more numerous and more vivid than ever. In my dreams I am ageless, and I relive the moments of the past without limits, without age, and without constraints. And whether those dreams be good or bad, heavenly or hellish, I am ageless, I am vigorous, I am me.

Thanksgiving is here and for me, maybe for you too, this time of year lends itself to memories – both good and bad. And some of us won’t be together this year – and that’s going to leave many of us alone with our memories. 

My mom died in November – the week before Thanksgiving. She died when I was ten. That memory and all the tears, heartbreak, and sadness that it brings is still as fresh as the day it happened.

I can still smell the flowers around her casket. I can smell the cloying odor of the strangely lit funeral home.  I can still see my mom’s face at rest, though cosmetically enhanced, and it haunts me still. The “what ifs” flood my mind and tears fill my eyes. What would I have become had she lived?

When she died, my life was ripped apart – literally. I had to go to various places after school as my grandparents – my mom’s parents – were so distraught they were unable to be there for me then.

Later, though, they would become the most important people in my young life. Aunts and uncles who, I don’t think really wanted me, allowed me to go to their home after school. I had to wait until my dad picked me up after he got off work. I felt like a burden on the world. An unwanted problem for which no one had the solution.

Gradually, my grandparents, particularly my grandfather, gave me the love and stability I needed. In fact, my grandfather became my best friend – and to this day I have never had a better, wiser, or more loyal friend. He did everything he could to help me achieve whatever goals my dreams conjured up. He ignited my lifelong love of reading by buying me books about Babe Ruth, the solar system, the planets, and other topics he knew interested me. I became an avid reader then – I still am. He bought me my first guitar, my first Beatles’ album, encouraged me to follow my musical dreams and write songs.

Then one day, he had a stroke and died – right before my eyes. I was a young man then – not a young boy – but the impact of his death was just as profound and impactful as my mother’s death had been a dozen years earlier.

There have been other tragedies in my life, but those I’ve mentioned happened when the tree was young and those became my gnarly roots.

And sometimes, even now, all the memories of my past are colored by those two profound personal tragedies. And sometimes, if I let them, the colors from the past wash out the colors of the now. And with the colors of my life already being muted by the incessant march of time, it would be easy to allow my world to become gray.

But I won’t do that. And I can’t change time – I can’t change my age – I can’t ever be young again. But I can be thankful. I have so many things to be thankful for. And so do you.

I have too many precious things to be thankful for, but here are a few.

I’m thankful for my kids. They’ve remained close to me since they were born.  I won’t seem y youngest and his family this year.  He only lives a couple of hours from me, but we are not going to risk getting together.

My oldest son and his family will be here at my house for Thanksgiving this year – we’re going to be careful – and keep some distance between us and keep the windows wide open.  It won’t be like any other Thanksgiving in my life. But it will be Thanksgiving, nonetheless.

I’m thankful that I’m still able to get out every day and walk for an hour. I’ve been out there every day walking in rain, snow, cold and the withering heat of summer. But the days I remember the most were not those perfect walking days. And never have I ever taken a walk without being thankful that I’m still able to do it.

I’m thankful for our little business and my partner Darcy. She’s put up with me for a long time – no easy task. And every year we struggle along trying to keep things going and before we know it, we’ve made it to the end of the year.

We look back and realize we’ve made it again. I’m thankful for that.

I’m thankful for all the friends we’ve made along the way. All of you who have supported our small business and helped us through the tough times – you’re really the reason we’re still here – thank you so much.

I’m thankful I’ve got a nice home. It’s warm and dry. I don’t need a mansion. I’m happy with what I have and thankful for all I have.

We all have a lot to be thankful for – and it isn’t the money you have in the bank. It isn’t the material things you’ve accumulated. It’s not that fancy luxury car in your driveway. The things that you have to be thankful for are easy to find.

Imagine it’s your last day on earth. What things are most important to you? “… and all your money won’t another minute buy…” If you want to know what matters most to you – imagine it’s your last day.

It won’t be your money, your real estate, your stocks, your bonds, your checking account – it won’t be any material thing. It will be the ones who love you and the ones you love. Your family, your friends, your charitable deeds, and everything you can feel with your good heart. Those are things you’ll be most thankful for on your last day.

“And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make…”

It’s Thanksgiving. It’s the time of year to look back and to give thanks. And if you think you have nothing to be thankful for, think again. You do.

Even in this crazy year, you have a lot to be thankful for. You may be struggling financially, your health may not be so good, you may not be young anymore, you may have had disappointments and let downs… but still you do have a lot to be thankful for – and so do I.

It’s time to give thanks. I have so much to be thankful for – and I’m certain that you do too.

 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

11 thoughts on “It’s Time to Give Thanks

  1. Wendy

    Thank you so much for this essay. It made me smile and forget about my petty little problems, and think about all the things I am grateful for. I think we all need to be reminded of that every once in a while.

    Reply
  2. Eileen

    I think that you speak for a lot of us older generations. We tend to think a lot of our past memories with our families. That’s what makes us who we are. Very thoughtful message.

    Reply
  3. Barb

    Although Thanksgiving American style has never been a part of my life, I do recognise that everything I have and everything I am able to do is because of an unseen Power that has kept me going for more years than some people are granted, and now I have reached the stage of having very few friends, and even fewer family members, who are older than me. When I type I have to hold a magnifying glass with a light in it which does away with a few of my mistakes. When I walk, I have to use support. Without a hearing aid I am totally deaf. I don’t dwell on these as misfortunes, I am grateful to have these aids, and even more grateful for my children who do their share towards keeping me able to live alone. Tragedies and hardships are not unique to me, everyone else gets their share of them. What matters is how you cope with them. I find the best thing to do, for myself, is relegate all the bad stuff to the past, and think about all the good times, and if I think hard enough the good outweighs the unpleasant. My Thanksgiving differs from yours in that it is not a special annual event. I wish all wo participate in your celebration a happy time. We on the other side of the world give thanks in our own ways.

    Reply
  4. Dianne

    I was deeply touched by your memories, Thankyou for sharing TC. I am
    grateful for still having my mom who is 98 yrs. young living next door to me.
    I am grateful that she is still able to care for herself and has a great memory . We have some great conversations each night when I visit. Here, we are in lockdown under code red restrictions to get our numbers down and stop the spread of this deadly virus. We can go out only for necessities. I don’t go out except to get a bit of fresh air. I email my grocery list in and it is delivered to us. I am grateful for this small town amenity. It is a service each grocery store did even before the pandemic hit. We live in a senor’s complex and everyone wears a mask when stepping into the hallway. I am grateful my 4 children have been able to work during this pandemic. Three are in construction but live a thousand miles away. My daughter works in a care facility for mentally challenged and disabled people. Visitors were limited before the pandemic and now no visitors are allowed in. I am grateful for the work you and Darcy provide to keep us safe on the internet. thank you so much, Happy Thanksgiving

    Reply
  5. Richard Fuller

    Dear Friend… I was so moved while reading your beautiful essay. Needs to be printed out and handy not only
    on Thanksgiving but for every day of the year. I can relate to all you have mentioned and I would most likely
    fall far short of being able to put to print what you have written here. Thankfully, you have done this for me
    and for other folks who have read it. Cause for much reflection on all those years and experiences we as
    humans have endured. Yes, through all our many trials and tribulations, we do have much to be
    thankful for. How fortunate we really are. Keep up the great work. Happy Thanksgiving Holiday ! 🙂

    Reply
  6. Polly Knox

    It,s Time to Give Thanks.
    There is nothing that can be added to this Essay. It is all true. I myself have been blessed so many times in my life. Prayers have been answered, even though at times I doubted. The difference between us old folks of yesterday years and today, we were taught better, our parents or caregivers, were there for us. Today the internet, chatting, other thins are more important therefore the internet is baby sitter and teacher. Oh! what this world is missing. Love, real feelings, help one another, listen, and look at the beauty around them. I am so thankful.
    Bless you and Darcy

    Reply
  7. JP

    Dear TC,
    The sharing of your past brought tears to my eyes. Thank you. You are indeed a remarkable person and I pray to be able to face life with that same sense of gratitude as you have inspired in your reflection. Although we Canadians celebrated our Thanksgiving a month or so earlier, your message is valid for every day of the year. The thought comes to me, when we think of Thanksgiving – to whom are we ultimately voicing our thanks? Indeed, we can thank those who have been a part of our lives, like your grandfather was to you. But when everything and maybe everyone has failed us, there is still One who never fails us and whose love will bring us the ultimate joy if we will to embrace Him. May He embrace you and EB for your service to us all and grant you peace in this life and joy in the next.

    Reply
  8. Joyce Linsenmeyer

    Such a beautiful life you have had except for the deaths of your beloved family members. I stumbled on to this website and have been a member ever since. I have learned so much from you and Darcy with all your tips and other things. Keep up your fine work we love you two! I look forward to your emails every day. I too am in the twilight of my life and I feel as you do nothing is as important as your family and the friends you made in your life along the way.
    God Bless you both!

    Reply
  9. Regina Petrutis

    Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving Day at the Cloudeight. Thanks for the beautiful story and thoughts for the
    day.. As I get older there seems to be more and more memories to go back to… And many things to be thankful for… Without your newsletters and tips for Windows I would not survive… I am thankful for every day that I go to the computer and find something to use… Keep well, all of you…

    Reply

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