Those who know me well might think that the fact I like to eat and cook and enjoy a traditional roast turkey dinner (I’ll prepare it several times a year) is why I like Thanksgiving the best of all holidays. While this culinary preference might play a small role in my choice, the fact is I think it is very important to do a complete job of counting our blessings.
When I went through a divorce and some choices about who would be with whom on certain holidays, I asked for Thanksgiving. My three children were and still are an incredible blessing. Regardless of what inevitable conflicts and troubles occur during the year, a formal coming together was important. If we handle our lives as well as we possibly can, there is always something special to be thankful for. My children are now grown, have families of their own and are spread all over the country and the world, making a ceremonial Thanksgiving dinner rarely possible. We still do our best, even if it’s only by Skype or Facetime.
This year, our mutual communities and our country are in serious conflict. More so than at any time since the growing pains of the Civil Rights Movement and the pain of the Vietnam War tore at our society, many of us are focused on what’s wrong. Unfortunately, there is a lot that is wrong. Particularly the resurfacing of latent hatred and racism. There is also a refusal on the part of many of our nation’s “leaders” to do anything about it. Case in point is treating the suffering of our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico as an annoying inconvenience rather than a life and death responsibility.
To help me enjoy this Thanksgiving season, I am going to focus on a good thing. A happy place. An example of what is exceptionally good about the communities in which I work and live. The Conejo Valley, Malibu and Pacific Palisades are unquestionably affluent. However, that affluence does not equate to self-centered and selfish. The opposite is true. The level of support for nonprofits as diverse as the American Cancer Society, Boys and Girls Clubs, PathPoint, the Westminster Free Clinic, the Conejo Compassion Coalition and Big Brothers Big Sisters, to name just a few, never ceases to amaze me. Recently, in one evening, about $150,000 was raised for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ventura County. WOW!! Time to say, “Thank You!”