While I know the calendar days are ticking by and that a new year and the flurry of activity that comes with the legislative session are just around the corner, it only makes me appreciate the Thanksgiving holiday more. Gathering with family and enjoying the turkey, dressing, potatoes, vegetables and, possibly most of all, the desserts, is the perfect way to put a time out on busy lives and hectic schedules.
I believe that simple act, slowing down, is such an important part of having a heart of gratitude. It certainly won’t happen on its own. Lives today are busier than they’ve ever been and, from where I’m sitting, it certainly doesn’t look like things are slowing down any time soon. Possibly the most dangerous consequence of that seemingly speeding clock is that it seems to put a spotlight on our problems, controversies and the things we don’t have.
It has long been my experience that the more we focus on negatives, it breeds only more doubt and fear. The opposite has also been true, focus on gratitude and positivity brings about more joy and growth. This is not an easy mindset. In my position I see firsthand the many struggles, divides and questions that face us as a state and a country and how those issues impact each and every one of us. It is scary.
Thanksgiving is not technically a religious holiday, but there has always been a recognition that our blessings come from God. It is agreed by a large majority of world religions and cultures that a higher power plays a role in all the good things they receive. It’s a testament to the power of Thanksgiving that people of all faiths can join hands around the dinner table, bow their heads and offer thanks.
I hope you take time to count your blessings this Thanksgiving. We live in a beautiful state in a wonderful time. We have freedoms and provisions that couldn’t be dreamed of in other parts of the world. I wish all of you the very best and pray that you are able to spend this time with your loved ones. I encourage you to find a moment, count the blessings God has provided and give thanks.