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Thanksgiving: Giving Thanks

November 27, 2008
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Thanksgiving. A day we set aside to reflect upon that which we are grateful for in our lives.

Looking back upon this past year, I find myself feeling most grateful for having my boyfriend Dan in my life, both as my dear friend and as my romantic partner. It is a very special thing to find someone with whom you just fit, whose personality and interests are so compatible with your own. As I’ve written earlier, Dan and I have been friends for about four years, and unbeknownst to one another we’ve been interested in each other for about two years. He made me extremely happy back in February when he finally revealed his feelings to me.

Now, I’ve dated before, somewhat casually, but love had always eluded me. I would often claim, in a sort of opposite quote of Forrest Gump, “I may be a smart girl, but I don’t know what love is.” I now understand those who say, “When it’s right, you’ll just know.” That aphorism had always frustrated me, because they seemed to be empty words full of non-information. But now that I truly believe I’ve found what my heart’s been looking for, I understand that love is one of those things that cannot be properly explained to those who have never experienced it. I am grateful to finally be experiencing it.

One thing I am very grateful to have right now is my job. Given the way the economy is, particularly in Michigan, I’m very happy that I have the ability to pay my rent, my student loans, and my other bills and still have enough left over to put away as savings, as modest an amount that might be. I’m also grateful to have a relatively easy job in a very relaxed work environment. I’m a direct care worker, which means I am a personal aide to an individual who has a severe physical disability. The person I work for is a good friend of mine. We met when I was still a student and hit it off right away. When one of his aides had to quit, he immediately offered me the job, knowing I needed one. I still feel as though I’m being paid to hang out with my friend.

I’m grateful to be able-bodied. True, my body is not perfect. I have some neurological problems and a maladjusted spine, and I’m not exactly in shape. But I have full use of my arms, legs, hands, and feet. My eyes are very near-sighted, but my vision is perfectly correctable with lenses. I’m grateful for a functional mind and brain. I’m told that I have above-average intelligence and that I’m in touch with reality. There are many people who cannot say the same.

I’m grateful that I live in an industrialized nation where the leadership is transferred peacefully. For the 43rd time now, the United States of America has handed over the reins in an orderly fashion. There was no coup, no radical regime change. People who disagree with our leaders are free to make their voices heard. I am grateful that I live in a nation where extreme poverty and destitution are the tragic exception rather than the norm. There exist some governments that are so corrupt that their people as a whole are completely disempowered. For all of its faults and imperfections, the USA cannot be described as such, and that is indeed something to be thankful for.

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