What are you thankful for?

Thanksgiving has a way of generating musings about the things for which we’re thankful. 

Depending on the state of current events, the family (immediate and extended), friendships, other relationships, occupational concerns, personal finances, health and many other factors, the thankful list changes from year to year.

But some items always remain. 

I try to think back 10, 25, 50 years and more (that gets harder every year, but it’s worth the trouble) in an effort to analyze how my gratitude is different today from what it was back then. The surface stuff shifts over time, but there are basics that underpin everything else.

I’m thankful for the love my family and my relatives constantly bestow on me, without hesitation. 

It’s an automatic, and it has always been so. I’m a fortunate man.

I’m thankful for the many friends who gladden my heart, the ones from long ago and the ones I’ve met recently. 

Social media makes keeping in touch with those far away much easier than when I was young, and I’m thankful for those technological advances as well.

I’m thankful for my health, and the professionals that have preserved that in me. 

My mind and body show the wear and tear that come with age, but modern medicine has worked its magic several times in recent years. Every accident and illness I’ve encountered has been overcome by my providers and their health care knowledge. I can’t repay them, other than to be grateful. 

I’m thankful for the community/county in which I’ve lived my entire life, earned my living and in which I take pride. It gives me much more than I can give back — always has, always will.

I’m thankful for the people of our state. 

We don’t all think alike, and that automatically makes for challenges. But my experience with life in Iowa proves to me that most of us mean well most of the time, and strive to treat each other with consideration despite our differences. There really is such a thing as “Iowa nice.”

I’m thankful for the governmental structure within which we live. 

The Constitution was enacted more than 200 years ago, when social and political equality were unheard of, when slavery was an accepted fact of life, when women occupied second-class status and when scientific knowledge was woefully inadequate. 

But the Founders, despite those millstones, drafted a document that distributed power and insulated itself against irrelevance. It was, and is, a remarkable achievement.

I’m thankful for the education community that constantly pushes outward the boundaries of human knowledge in so many disciplines, and the engineers and other “doers” who move discoveries from pure research into useful practice.

I’m thankful for artists of all sorts, who bring delight to our existence and stimulate our senses. Life would be drab without them.

I could go on. 

So can you, and I expect you do from time to time, especially at Thanksgiving. 

When you do, I hope you end up with the same warm, fuzzy feeling I do. 

Happy Thanksgiving.

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