As Thanksgiving approaches, I wish to share a few things for which I am most thankful. I am certainly thankful for more than these seven things, but they are at the top of my list.
1. I am thankful for my family
I am fortunate that my family is very close. My wife and I have been married for more than 40 years, and our relationship seems to grow ever closer. We are not just spouses—we are soul mates and life partners. I cannot imagine never having met her and enjoying our many years together.
Our son has been an integral part of us ever since his birth. We all share a special connectivity. He is now a successful professor of philosophy at a university, and I love discussions with him and reading his papers. He still feels at home in our house and visits regularly twice a year. I am thankful for my son and very proud of him.
My mother, my siblings, and I are close. We visit each other and treasure our relationships. I am thankful for them, and I am also thankful for my father and sister who are deceased. They were both very important to me and I think of them often.
Beyond my immediate family, I am thankful for the memories I have of my deceased grandparents, aunts, and uncles who were so much a part of my life.
2. I am thankful for my friends
I’ve had hundreds of nice acquaintances, but I especially treasure a few close friends who have been with me for decades. In particular are two buddies I met in college when I was still a teenager. I can’t imagine what my life would have been without them all these years.
3. I am thankful for my health
I do not take my health for granted. Several years ago I was diagnosed with a very serious cancer. The usual treatments all failed quickly and there were a number of additional complications. But just before I was released to hospice I received approval for a dangerous new procedure that saved my life.
That treatment was harsh and there were further complications. The doctors did not expect me to survive, but I did survive. After several months in the hospital I was sent home so weak I could hardly turn over in bed by myself. Since then I have improved considerably though I will never be my old normal.
Again, I am thankful for my health; I do not take it for granted in the least.
4. I am thankful Jesus tells me of the loving Father who takes away fear
My life as a Christian fundamentalist was dominated by an angry God, heavy legalistic rules, a fear of hell, and spiritual uncertainty. I am thankful that I worked through my religious baggage and discovered the real Jesus who tells me of the Father who has always loved me.
5. I am thankful I am not bound by rigid religious rules
The burden of legalism is very heavy and leads to unhealthy spiritualities. I am thankful I no longer carry that heavy load of rigid religious rules and harmful beliefs. Jesus relieved my burdens and gave me rest and peace.
6. I am thankful for my blog readers
When poor health limited my range of contribution to society I began blogging. I wanted to help others who were questioning their inherited beliefs and struggling with doubt and fear. But my blog would be nothing without my readers. I am thankful for my readers—especially those who constantly support my effort and help contribute to it with their comments.
7. I am thankful for like-minded bloggers
When I began blogging I didn’t know anyone who shared a spiritual journey similar to mine, and I felt very alone. But I have since found an entire blogging community of like-minded believers that I never knew existed. I am so thankful for that community; I no longer feel alone in my journey.
These are a few very important things for which I am thankful this Thanksgiving season, but there are others as well. The more I follow Jesus, and the more I develop, the more things I am thankful for.
I am sure you are also thankful for many things. This is a good season to reflect on them.