So what is there to be thankful for?

IMG_2764The holidays can be a tough time of year for many of us. Some may be alone with no family around. Others may be left saddened by the loss of a loved one. Some may be struggling with job loss, financial distress, feelings of disenfranchisement, separation or divorce, depression or substance abuse.

While those issues are difficult enough to deal with at any time, they are often all the more so during the holidays.

The holidays are times when families and loved ones, often even when there is strife within the family unit, gather together to celebrate and not being a part of it all only reminds us of our loneliness and separation from them.

This year my wife and I were anticipating being alone for thanksgiving and as such we found it difficult, at first, to get into the spirit of the holidays. We even considered for the first time to not even decorate for Christmas, a holiday we both truly love.

Family and friendship have always been so important to me and the thought of not being with family was a difficult thing to deal with.

When I get into such moods I try and reflect on the things I should be thankful for. I’m most fortunate to enjoy good health, I have a wife and daughter who love me, good friends, a roof over our heads, a great part-time job at a surf shop, I have creative outlets that give me joy like writing, art, surfing, volunteering and the ability to commune on a regular basis with nature.

We are also still reveling from a recent family reunion with love ones we have either not seen in years of never before. Those thoughts as well as at the last minute inviting a friend, and neighbor who is down on his luck this year, to Thanksgiving dinner has fully restored our holiday spirit.

Unfortunately there are many who’s burdens are so heavy and who’s suffering and loneliness are so deep to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I believe the events of this year may have made it all the more difficult for many this year. We have all just lived through a highly contentious election that has left many in a state of fear or concern, there is a great deal of world strife and worries over terrorism and many are still struggling with job loss or lack of a solid income.

What I believe we all need right now, especially those who are struggling, is to know that there are those who care about us and our well being and to feel we are part of something bigger than ourselves.

When I was in the service, my wife and I would always invite some of my fellow airmen, who were alone for the holidays, to dinner for Christmas and Thanksgiving. I know how much it meant to them as well as how much it meant to us at times when we were alone and friends invited us to share in their family festivities.

There are many in our country who currently feel a sense of disenfranchisement due to either their ethnicity, religion or nationality. This is troubling as our nation is a great one due to our history of being a melting pot of a diverse group of people. We are also a great nation because of our generosity and spirit.

So this year more than ever let’s all be thankful for those things we have been blessed with and reunite with family, friends and loved ones  we have drifted away from, embrace those who may be different from us with a smile and a kind word. And, if you can, invite someone you know who is alone and struggling into your home. It can make a positive difference in their lives and yours.

So to answer the question what is there to be thankful for, plenty.

Thanks for checking in and I wish you and yours the happiest of Thanksgiving’s.

P.S. In case your looking for a cheap gift for a child for the holidays check out my Children’s book “Byron The Lonely Christmas Tree”.

Aloha, Paul


About authorpaulhayden

Author, artist, screenwriter, environmentalist. husband, father, surfer, surfing instructor, volunteer.
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