Washington and the elite media are all abuzz about sexual harassment and tax reform. Frankly, it’s time for a break, and I doubt any of the buzz will be resolved this week of Thanksgiving. Hopefully, we can invest time with family and friends, thinking about all we have to be thankful for this year.
A friend shared an informal survey purportedly by the “Facebook Data Science” team looking at what people are thankful for in America. In June, 2015, they posted a map of the states showing what topics people in each state posted compared with the other states. This was no scientific study, but it was interesting.
In my home state of Mississippi and in Arkansas, people were thankful for “mercy.” I resemble that remark because I need mercy all of the time! My birth state of Tennessee was thankful for “God’s love.” Again, I’m right there with fellow Tennesseans. Other Southern states: Alabama is thankful for “God’s forgiveness;” Georgia is thankful for “God’s word;” and, North and South Carolina are thankful for “salvation.”
There were two notable exceptions: Louisiana is thankful for “rainbows,” and Florida is thankful for “living near the beach.” Live and let live. To each his or her own.
More than any other section of America, southerners are generally more thankful for godly blessings. Many will gather around the Thanksgiving table this year, give thanks to God for His many blessings, and give time for everyone to share something they are thankful for. This is a wonderful time for young and old alike when we hear a broad range of things each of us is particularly thankful for.
Like many older folks, I’m most thankful for relationships, friends, and family. All of these make me who I am and reveal who I really am. Scary sometimes! I suppose nothing I have “accomplished” will have any lasting value except time I have shared with friends and family. “All the stuff” is just a pile of things. Maybe one day all of my stuff will be worth something as antiques, if people continue to value things from the past.
I fear younger generations are so overwhelmed with information, instant communication and gratification, that they have no time to reflect about and learn from the past. The future is coming at warp speed, and all the stars have vanished until we stop again for whatever reason. Maybe Thanksgiving is that time to stop, consider, reconsider, and renew our thoughts about the past in preparation for the coming year.
Of course, those of us who believe in God are thankful for His many rich blessings to us individually and to our nation. The old hymn, “Count your many blessings,” reminds me of just how many blessings we have! Counting blessings leaves little or no time for worrying about other things, whether they be big things or little things.
An old friend who passed away years ago used to quip that he made the major decisions in his family and his wife made the little decisions. He worked on peace in the Middle East and
national politics, while his wife decided where they would live, what car they would drive, and what they would do for a living…you know, the small stuff!
I hope you all have a wonderful time of Thanksgiving with family and friends.
Daniel L. Gardner is a syndicated columnist who lives in Starkville, Miss. You may contact him at PJandMe2@gmail.com.