Today is Thanksgiving and I must pause a moment and offer thanks to all of my family for the wonderful life I have lived. What is amusing to me is the number of people who have been arguing over just what were the origins of this holiday. To quote a famous character in a movie, "Frankly, dear, I don't give a damn." What impresses me is that basically this country in which I live pauses at least once a year officially to offer thanks to a higher power and/or oneanother. That, to me, is the real important issue. So, here's my brief contribution to the miriad of people giving thanks on this special day.
I am truly thankful that I am and have been engaged in meaningful work everyday since 1968 when I graduated from college at Arkansas State University. I have been a military officer, a high school teacher, a minister and a college professor. In each of these jobs, I have been able to touch people's lives for the better (most of the time). And in numerous situations, I have had a positive impact.
I am truly thankful for my family. My mother and dad (both deceased) worked hard to help me develop into he man I am today. I'm not sure I'm exaectly what they expected, but I feel pretty good about the job they did and give them my deepest appreciation. I am also very thankful for the woman who married me in December of 1967 and remains my wife to this day. We have two wonderful and interesting children who keep us on our toes. Plus, my daughter has given us the most wonderful grand-child in the world (at least for now). I also give thanks for the most wonderful sisters-in-law a man could ask for. My wife's sister has been a close to me as my own sister was (now deceased). And my brothers made some pretty good choices in their marriages as well.
I also must say that even though I am not working full time, I work for two colleges and a film school. The income is more than enough and the three men I work for are among the finest people I have ever known. They make my work life totally enjoyable and meaningful. Everyone should have employers or partners in business that are as wonderful as these men are.
Finally, I am totally grateful that I am a Christian. My heart is filled with love and gratitude for my life and my faith because of what Jehovah God has done for me through Jesus Christ. Unlike other religions that offer the possibility of earning credits with an high power, My faith assures me of my place in God's forever family as well as peace of mind right here on earth. I'm saddened by people in the media who tend to degrade the value of Christianity. A true Christian is one who loves all people and wants them to enjoy a meaningful life through Jesus Christ. There is no place in Christ for hatred or the killing of people on His behalf or in His name. I know there have been many misguided people on earth who have misconstrued Christianity, but the love that God gives us must of necessity be passed on to others because of what it cost for Him to give it to us.
So, I offer my appreciation for all people who have crossed my path during the past 65 years and enriched me as a Christian, as a man, as a father, as a husband, as a teacher, as a minister, as a lover, as a "Pop-Pop," and as a human being. I think that as my years wind down, I am finding that life has been pretty good and when all is said and done, I believe that God will be pleased with my life, overall. For the mistakes, errors in judgement, and sometimes meanness, I truly am sorry; yet I know those things have also contributed to my being the person I am today. So, life hasn't been so bad after all.
Herb is an author, speaker, retired college professor, and retired Army Reserve chaplain living in South Florida.
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