Op Ed: We really do have plenty of reasons to be thankful

By Robert Morales —

Every year at this time, we go through the same rituals we grew up with. We know that Thanksgiving and Christmas must be near because it's cooler, and this time of year even has its own smell to it.

Kids in school are given crayon assignments to color a turkey, pumpkins, the pilgrims and the like. Butterball begins advertising its turkeys and its toll-free number for those who may not know exactly how to cook a turkey.

We are inundated with advertisements on TV and in newspapers about the so-called “Black Friday” sales the day after Thanksgiving. This year, K-mart drew some fire from its employees and the public because of the company's decision to force employees to work on Thanksgiving Day.

In this week's Advocate, we published President Washington's proclamation establishing a national day of thanksgiving. In those days, life was hard, and our nation was young. Some could wonder during those days, what is there to be thankful for? In 1789, there was no running water, no gas, no electricity, no radio, no TV, no internet, no cars, no video games, no telephones, no cell phones, no computers, no i-Pads, and the list goes on.

What our early settlers, the first residents of the new United Sates did have was something we can't see, but we can feel: faith. What else besides faith could it be to make the treacherous journey from England to the New World in search of a better way of life? Many of the original pioneers perished from sickness or from the hardships they endured in an unknown world.

So the question today becomes why should we be thankful?

There's plenty of reasons not to be thankful. You might hear people saying: I lost my job and I can't find another one. My child is sick and needs medical attention, but I don't have insurance. I don't have a good car and I can't afford to get repairs on this one. I can't find a decent place to live because my wife and I don't earn enough money.

Those are just a few reasons some of us could have for thinking we have nothing for which to be thankful. Why don't we think about the alternatives? We could be living in a third-world country such as Cuba, Mexico or North Korea with almost no hope that things will get better. Instead of the 2014 Ford-150, we have a running 1988 Nissan Sentra. Instead of a spacious four-bedroom home with two three bathrooms and a garage, we have a paid-for three-bedroom home with one bath and a carport. Instead of the 70-inch HDTV with a Bose sound system, we have a 30-inch used TV that works. Instead of owning an i-Pad that can hold thousands of songs, we have a CD player.

As difficult as it might be to be truly thankful during difficult times, this is when it really matters. It is also true that even when we think life has become unbearable, that we should continue to try to give to those less fortunate that us. If we think that there are others who are not less fortunate, think again.

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