Tomorrow is Thanksgiving day and I am thinking along these lines. Life is relationships. I have been blessed with a family and friends that have made me who I am, except for the bad parts that I have to take responsibility for myself. They have loved me, and cared for me and cried with me and laughed with me and scolded me and encouraged me and have walked with me along some pretty difficult paths. And, tomorrow, when I give thanks, it will be for the gift that they all (all of you)have been to me in my not-so-short life. A friend of long ago, the one who composed '" Easy come, easy go..." also composed another song, one whose verses was " strangers are but friends each day we seek to meet." There are probably some of your out there whom I haven't met (yet). I include you too in my blessings just because you are fellow human being, an as yet un-met brother or sister who also has his/her ups and downs, joys and sorrows, good times and bad times. We are all traveling along together on the same road and when the opportunity arises, hopefully, we will be there to support one another when support is needed.
I also thank the Lord for the gift of faith. I believe that it is the core, that drives and energizes me. I didn't work for it. I don't deserve it. But, the older I get, the more I appreciate it. Yes, thanks to the many who showed me, in practical ways, the way the cared and helped and were concerned about the hurts and injustices and hypocrisies that went on around them and tried, and continue to try, to make a dent, to plant a seed, to wipe a tear, to do something that is meaningful and a practical application of that faith. That, perhaps, most of all, is what convinced me that I was on the right path. It was a faith that was alive and helped me to come alive too. I am soooo grateful.
At the same time, I think of the serious sins of this great and marvelous country of ours. Let's now forget to ask forgiveness and resolve not to repeat the sins of selfishness, greed, apathy, arrogance, racist (still) thinking, etc. that have besmirched our otherwise beautiful country. Both our home policy and foreign policy have so often been anti-life. When we give thanks tomorrow, Thanksgiving day, let' not forget to include a plea for forgiveness and a dose of the Spirit commit ourselves to the values of Jesus that will help us to avoid falling into these traps again.
We remember, in a particular way, all those who are caught in the clutches of drugs or alcoholism, sex slavery, persistent hunger, depression (marriage going down the tubes, can't find a job, total loss of self worth, can't see the light at the end of the tunnel,...) anxiety, fear, whatever, and maybe, especially, loneliness--no one who loves, who cares, no family or friends. I think of my family in Africa and their many hopes and dreams and needs and the very small chance that they will ever be fulfilled. I pray for them and I thank them for showing me, who can opt out at any time, that there is always reason for hope, especially when I see only dark and want to throw in the towel. The don't. They haven't. So, who am I to betray them or let them down when I have so much more going for me. I guess that these are some of the things I think of and will remember when I celebrate Mass tomorrow, a real Mass of thanksgiving. I am awed by the love and blessings that I have been deluged in and I promise you and the Lord that I will try to pass that on to as many others as possible in as many ways as I find open to me. Yes, thanks to you all, and thanks to the Lord, and the Spirit, the giver of life and of love. Cas