Open forum: Hard times need not mean lack of blessings

Thanksgiving marks a time when we gather with loved ones to celebrate our precious, irreplaceable ties as well as the many blessings in our lives. This holiday, however, our table’s bounty appears a little thinner than in previous years. 

Americans are facing great difficulties in the housing market as well as the overall economy. Families are struggling with jobs and wondering how to keep a roof over their heads. The early winter appears harsh and unforgiving.

Yet there is reason for great hope. This is not the first time the United States has faced adversity. Our forefathers, including the Pilgrims, certainly knew winter’s chill. Disease and famine gripped early settlements. Yet they embraced the unwanted, unforeseen events as an opportunity to reach out to one another and to those with whom they shared the rich, fertile land. They broke bread with the Indians and learned survival techniques. 

That’s what adversity does. It teaches us to venture outside our comfort zones. We travel to places and reach out to people that, under everyday circumstances, we would ignore. Adversity brings us together, sharpens our senses, wakes us from our sleep. No longer can we move as mindless  robots through our daily routine, ignoring what is before us. 

This is good news. Really. The good news comes wrapped in blessings that we might not otherwise appreciate. We learn about ourselves as we dig deep into the seemingly endless well of internal fortitude. We learn about one another as we, again, learn the lessons of community.

The current crisis gives us an opportunity to return to simpler times, more basic pleasures. Are you breathing? That’s a blessing. Do your arms and legs move? That’s a blessing. Did you watch the sunrise over the horizon? Yup. That’s a blessing. 

We are immersed in blessings. Sometimes, however, the material trappings of this world  blind us to the overwhelming abundance in our lives. Perhaps we need to trade the boat and the big house in order to gain even greater riches. 

Are these hard times? You bet. We Americans are facing one of the most critical times in this nation’s history. That’s why we need to join hands at our common table. It’s also why we need to let go of petty, senseless fighting and utilize our reserve of resources to uplift one another. 

We are one—every man, woman and child. Red. Yellow. Black. White. We are one. 

This Thanksgiving, rejoice in the blessings that you and I so often take for granted. This, too, is a time of amazing bounty, of overflowing plenty. Look around. Then count your awe-inspiring blessings. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Cindy Kazalia is a Messenger writer.

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