Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Thanksgiving Story

Three thanksgivings ago we sat down at the extended table with our extended family and felt so incredibly blessed we could barely speak. My father had survived a small stroke; my husband’s father had survived a heart attack and bypass surgery. We didn’t expect to all be together that year, but we were.

A year later, my father was dead and my mother in the hospital, unable to join us for Thanksgiving dinner. We rushed, somewhat numbly, through dinner, avoiding the traditional recitation of blessings.

This year feels a little like that particular Thanksgiving, on a global scale. It’s hard to find things to be thankful for (if you actually open your investment reports). It can be frightening, as companies and individuals we have long looked up to for leadership are faltering – maybe even failing.

And yet. Today the sun shone through the piles of golden leaves. I walked to work the long way, savoring perhaps the last nice morning of the month, feeling healthy, alive and filled with thanks.

Today, we had a chance to help a whole group of individuals begin their journey to become caregivers and nursing assistants. We connected with business associates who are challenged but persevering; and several who are thriving.

My children are spread out all over the globe; one in India and one in Israel. They’re studying, volunteering, and traveling. They’re excited about their adventures and fully engaged in their work of growing into global citizens.

Our table will be a little lighter this year for Thanksgiving dinner. Our bank accounts and investment portfolios are certainly a lot lighter. But when I count my blessings this year – out loud – the list will be long.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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