Nestled between the paganism and craziness of Halloween and the overt materialism of Christmas is the often-overlooked Holiday called Thanksgiving.  Desensitized by lives filled with plenty and often opulence, We forget that this is a time that is intended to be a season where we all express our gratitude. Yet, many people struggle with the question, “What am I Thankful for?”

One thing we can be thankful for are what I call the “Near-misses” of life. Possibly you realize in hindsight that the perfect job you wanted and tried so hard to get would have been a horrible fit. Be thankful for the near-miss. Or maybe the “special someone” you desired with all of your heart turned out to have no dreams, no goals, and nothing in common with you to merit a life-long commitment. You just missed it by inches. Or perhaps, there was a time where you made a left turn instead of a right turn and missed the major pile-up on the interstate. Another miss to be thankful for.

Years ago I was working for a company that sold doors and windows and I was returning home after a long day just as the sun had set. We lived in an area where the terrain was flat and you could see for miles out ahead of you. So, young and foolish, I was approaching warp speed as I headed to the house for supper. Off in the distance I saw a blinking red light and made the assumption it was a car in the roadway with the turn signal on.

Thundering along, radio blaring, I soon came to the realization that what I saw was not a turn signal in the distance but a railroad flare that had been thrown on the roadway on the other side of the massive train. I was approaching very, very quickly. In desperation, I slammed on the brakes, yanked the wheel to the left, and slid sideways down the pavement. Stopping just feet from the train, I realized the enormity of the near-miss and since then I have been forever thankful.

We could also be thankful for the simple things. Those ordinary things, like the scent of bacon cooking on a cold morning, (or at lunch-time, or at supper time, …or anytime really), or for the smell in the air after a summer rain. We can be thankful for the breathtaking explosion of color on a crisp October day.

One of the simple things that happened to me a while ago, was the gift of a small stone. Certainly, it is not a diamond, but a little, gray rock, right from the gravel along the driveway at my daughter’s house. My youngest Grandson, Max, began tugging on my pant leg, calling out, “Paw Paw, Paw Paw”. Not able to ignore him I looked down to see him holding up a stone in his dirty 4-year-old hand. I took the stone, said thank you, and just like that, Max was off onto another project. I have no idea why the stone was important to him, but because he gave it to me it became indispensable to me. So it sits on my desk, simple, seemingly ordinary but I am thankful for its great value.

Be thankful for the obvious. Friends, family, traditions, a place to live, and of course… bacon, should all be on our blessings list. This past Sunday was a huge blessing day for me as I looked back and remembered the biggest, most important day of my life. On November 17, 1972, my wife Lana became my wife. That’s Forty-Seven years. Wow, where did that time go?  Obviously, that is something to be thankful for.

What about you? Have you had any near misses? Have you noticed the simple things? Are you ignoring the obvious? As you sit around the table this Thanksgiving eating your Bacon-wrapped turkey leg, remember the things you can be thankful for. You can do this.

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