Giving thanks this Thanksgiving

Grace is derived from the Latin words, gratus and gratia. They mean thankful. The word grateful is derived from those roots. Grace is also the prayer of thanks said before or after a meal.

We celebrate Thanksgiving this week. Thanksgiving evolved out of centuries old harvest festivals. People gave thanks for and celebrated the bounty of the earth.

It is important to remember the reason for the holiday. Thanksgiving. Gratitude.

Somewhere in the hustle, bustle, and worry over preparing the feast, buying all the food, spending hours or days cooking or baking, and making those lists for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we forget to be grateful. We forget the attitude of gratitude. We put it all aside because we are too busy or distracted. We may say a few words at the table and that is usually the extent of our giving thanks.

Take a few minutes this week. Think about all the things you have to be thankful for and give thanks for them. No matter how dire your circumstances, the adversities you face, or how frantic your life is, there is always at least one thing you can be profoundly grateful for. If nothing else, give thanks your eyes opened and your feet hit the ground.

As I get older my priorities in life changed. My gratitude is for simple things.

I am thankful I have a roof over my head, clothes on my back, and food in the fridge and pantry.

I am grateful for the people I know. My family, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances. I am thankful I met people from all walks of life and from all corners of the world.

I give thanks I survived the difficulties life threw at me. I look back grateful I am not bitter about the obstacles, roadblocks, or disappointments.

I am grateful for all the lessons I learned and keep learning in life. Life is an educator. No school in the world can teach you what you need to know. Living is education on a daily basis.

I give thanks for all the wonderful and dedicated people I served with on the Chicago Police Department. They were my second family for almost three decades. I am also grateful for the memories, good and bad.

Besides the cops, I m grateful for the firemen and EMT's who risk their lives to save people and property. I am thankful for emergency room medical personnel whose efforts at life saving are heroic.

I thank the journalists who work around the clock to keep me informed through their words and pictures. Like cops and fire personnel, they witness many of the horrors in this city.

I am grateful for clergy of all faiths. Whether they espouse God, Yahweh, Allah, Buddha, the Great Spirit, the Great Pumpkin, or the Great Comedian.

I give thanks for the good bartenders in all the saloons I frequented over the years. They were an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on, a stern parent telling me I had enough, or an empathetic friend knowing a good drunk is what I needed.

I give thanks for living in a place and time where there is vast diversity, art, culture, and cuisine everywhere around me.

I am especially thankful for being alive. It sure beats the alternative.

Have a happy grateful Thanksgiving.


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