Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Thankful Thanksgiving

This week is Thanksgiving and to many of us it is an excuse to stuff ourselves with turkey, stuffing and all the fixings and take a long nap while pretending to watch football on TV. That is OK and it is certainly in my plans. Thanksgiving has also become known as the start of the Christmas shopping season with some stores opening during the holiday. I will leave that rant for another time and all I will say is that Christmas Season should not start until at least the day after Thanksgiving.

I think Thanksgiving should be more than a day to stuff ourselves, watch football and start our Christmas shopping. Those things are all fine but they should not be the focus of Thanksgiving and they are certainly not what was intended by setting aside a day to give thanks.

We have just come through one of the most contentious years in my lifetime. I am sure there were other years in the history of this great nation that were just as tense and full of controversy but I don’t remember them. I certainly don’t remember an election cycle this acrimonious. That gives this Thanksgiving even more meaning and purpose.

I don’t care which side of the elections you were on; we all have a lot to be thankful for this year. We have proven that we could come through the most unpleasant election season and emerge on the other side still holding our place as the greatest nation in the world. Sure, there will be many more bumps, heartburn and worry but I have complete confidence that we will come out stronger and better for all of it.

Instead of worrying about what is wrong with our nation, we should celebrate and give thanks for what is right. Most of us have shelter, food and clean water. Everything after that is gravy. We live in relative peace and safety. Just having the basic needs is something a great majority of the rest of the world doesn’t take for granted like we do and we should be thankful for all we have.

I would also like for us to take this day of thanks giving to reflect upon just how good we have it and carry those thoughts into the next year. We live in a land of abundance and we take that blessing for granted. Recently I had the opportunity to work with Rick McNary. Rick has dedicated his life to helping those who are not as blessed as most of us and who do worry about having enough to eat each day. You can’t be around Rick and not want to do something about hunger.

I am quite certain that food is something most of us take for granted. We have always known that we will have our next meal and that there will always be food in the pantry and the refrigerator. We are blessed to have enough that we turn our noses up at certain foods and often a large percentage of what we do have goes bad before we can eat it. We should be thankful enough for what we have that we start working on this problem.

I am not trying to make you feel bad because my house is just as guilty about wasting food. I just want us to think about how good we have it and what we can do to try to pass some of our blessings on to those who are less fortunate. Just think about what we could do if, instead of wasting that food, we used that money to help feed those who don’t know where their next meal is coming from.

Dealing with hunger is an overwhelming task if you look at the totality it. However, if we all do small things to help we can chip away at the mountain one stone at a time. Those of us in agriculture know about doing our part. I am also just as sure knowing that many people do not have enough food and that we need produce even more in the future is a part of what motivates us to do our jobs.

I will leave you with this wish. I wish that for one day we would put our differences aside and not worry about the events of the past year. Let’s celebrate the abundance and blessings of this great nation with a day of rest, relaxation, food, family and fun. During this celebration, I hope each one of us will take time to give thanks for all that we have and reflect upon how we can be good stewards of all we have been given. I ask that you think about how you can share those blessings with others. Then maybe one shared blessing at a time we can start to mend fences. That would be something we could all be thankful for.

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