More thankful than ever

This is Thanksgiving Day 2016. Traditionally, many will be gathering with family and friends today to eat, celebrate, fellowship and give thanks for all that their creator has blessed them to enjoy. Unfortunately, there will be many also who will not be able to recognize much of anything for which they are thankful. Whatever the individual circumstances, this is a day our nation has set aside to give thanks. I rose this morning with a sense of thankfulness like I’ve not had before. I can’t say it’s because there have been any particular blessings that have come my way this year. I can say, however, that I found myself more mindful of all I’ve been given in this life.

I went to bed last night; not sure I would get up and exercise as I normally do. My routine includes an hour ride on my bicycle, a workout on the weights, and some stretching. I was a bit tired last night. I also knew that I would get up this morning and finish cooking our Thanksgiving Day meal that I started last night. I’ve been feeling tired more normal than usual the last month, so I figured last night that I would only be motivated to get out of bed and finish cooking.

Amazingly, I woke this morning early, 5:30, with plenty energy. With this amount of energy, I had to expend some of it on the bicycle. I completed my hour-long ride and some work on the weights to top it off. I’ve just about finished preparing the meal, as I captured a few minutes to key some musings at my laptop. There’s an old saying many people of faith use regularly, “God is good.” There’s also a comeback to that phrase that’s also commonly used, “And He’s good all the time.” Both of those expressions are somewhat minimal in their ability to capture the full picture of just how great God is. But, that’s true of just about any utterance we might usher forth to describe God. We are finite creatures, with equal abilities to describe to omnipotence of God.

I think I’m feeling, as close as possible, the complete blessings of God on my life this day. I think this is an experience that is prone to come with old age. Being sixty-six and going through all that I’ve gone through, it’s next to impossible to not feel the full effect of God’s handiwork on your life. I have three children, four grandchildren and one great grandchild. This morning, I found myself thinking about the loving wife God blessed me with almost thirty-one years ago; this was the beginning in large part of my nuclear family. I love them all. I don’t love them because they’re perfect. If perfection were an attribute that motivated me to love them, loving them would still be missing in my inventory of emotions. I love them because they are all gifts from God. They are all a part of a whole that gives me a sense of belonging to something larger and greater than myself. I want this love, this fondness to grow even stronger. I haven’t as many days to go as I did ten, twenty, thirty years and more to ago. I want dearly for the remaining ones to be closet to wonderful as anyone can have.

Yes, I am feeling especially thankful on this Thanksgiving Day. I hope my spreading just a little taste of my thankfulness, and why I’m so thankful tells you why.

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.

Deplorable elements are with us

Eight days ago, something happened in our country that was not foretold. It was an occurrence tantamount to a 7.0 quake on the Richter Scale. None of the smarter-than-though political prophets had gotten it right. I, along with many Americans, had come to believe the outcome of the presidential election would be the opposite of what happened. One could be philosophical about the event, but there is a time and place for philosophy. I’m not so sure applying philosophical musings to the 2016 presidential election is appropriate.

Now that the dramatic moment has passed, the nation is dealing with the aftermath. There have been signs around the lower forty-eight, indicating that we’re in for a long, troublesome ride. Middle school students are praising the virtues of whiteness, the KKK is behaving as if their long-awaited Messiah has ascended from hades, progressive-minded folks are marching in the streets, and there are undoubtedly other just-under-the surface signs of social unrest brewing that we’ll see surface before too long. We’re in the third millennium, and one would think that we would have gotten better than this. Yes, one would, but one would have been a cave dweller with her head buried deep under the sand to think so naively.

I’m a denizen of Facebook, Twitter and the collective social media universe. Since retiring almost three years ago, I have come to find a sense of belonging and comfort in cyberspace. This realm has much to offer a retired person, who has a chronic illness. There are websites with like-minded people, who are willing to share their life’s experiences. Oftentimes these experiences are like mine, and you find myself connecting spiritually with people from around the world. Since retiring, I have found myself writing more, thinking more and finding opportunities to open my mind up more to a diverse collection of souls. Since November 8, my experiences in cyberspace have been altered somewhat.

This morning, when the screen to my laptop came to life, I saw a picture of some black figures being burned in effigy. A good-hearted Facebook friend of mine saw it as his duty to share this image. He wanted to make the point that this type of hate-laced activity is on the rise in our country, our America. Over the last week, I’ve been seeing more of these types of postings on Facebook and Twitter. These kinds of stories are also being presented by the legitimate news outlets too. The five-o’clock news programs are peppered with stories of racial epithets scrawled across areas where the intended are certain to read them. The “deplorables” (no need to be political correct) of our society feel embolden to freely express the darkness they think can now be released from the sewer filled cauldrons of their small minds.

My preference at this point in our country’s history would be to not see any of the signs of disunity that have been unleashed. In my never-never-land dream, I would much rather see bands of people, all hues and mindsets, holding hands and singing Kumbaya in the streets. Unfortunately, dreams aren’t always the stuff of which reality is made. It would be good if realty was composed of all peoples of our nation reaching a point of mental balance where liberty and justice for all was the mantra for everything we (all) do. I don’t expect to see that during my lifetime; however, for now, I would like to see fewer images of hate on social media. Call me an escapist if you will. That’s alright. I don’t think I must see snakes in a dark, damp cave when I know they’re there.

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.

There’s something to be said for old stuff

I’m without my laptop today. It’s been giving me a real headache recently, slow as molasses, freezing up just as I’m in the middle of keying a serious thought, and being an all-round problem. I took it into the Best Buy Geek Squad today. The thing is probably six or seven years old. Conventional wisdom tells me that I should replace it, but I really don’t wish to spend money on another laptop right now. I’ve got a friend, a computer geek, who has several computers eight, nine years old. He tells me they work just fine, and that I shouldn’t be too quick to replace computers on the (thought-to-be-wise) three to four-year cycle. Of course, that’s easy for him to say, he can simply rebuild a computer whenever he sees fit.

There’s something to be said for old stuff. I’ve got suits and shoes that I’ve had for ages. Since I’m not a stickler for what’s new and hot in the fashion world, old clothes serve me sufficiently. Think about it, old stuff had the stamina to hang around for a long time, so it must have an inherit quality that gives it the right to be around a little while longer. After all, this fast-food, micro-waving culture in which we live today just wants to throw things away as soon as the shine starts to wear off.

Being sixty-six years old, I can remember a time when televisions were taken to a TV repair shop. This was a place you had to lug that heavy, cathode tube devise to, and leave it there for several days until the repairman could get around to fixing it. Now, if you had one of the fancy console model TV sets, which also served as a piece of fine furniture, crafted to esthetically add a touch of glamor to a room, you had to have the TV repairman come to your home. He would come with all of his tools and thing-a-ma-jigs needed to bring life back to that black and white window to the world.

Old stuff used to be a regular part of the landscape. Things like shoes, dungarees (AKA Levis), high-ticket household appliances, and innumerable tools and other staples necessary for living, were a part of life. My grandfather’s barn was full of old tools and various farm equipment; much of it looking as though it was manufactured in the latter part of the nineteenth century. He was a firm believer in the old adage, “wastes not want not.” At some point between the middle of the nineteen sixties and the end of the twentieth century, there was a transition to a society where durability became less of quality to be added into products. Built-in obsolescence became the most important quality. You buy it, it breaks, and you go buy another one. Of course, don’t forget the important “extra warranty”, which costs extra. In the old days, we didn’t need an extra warranty; better quality just seemed to have been part and parcel of the purchase.

Yeah, there’s something to be said for old stuff, the most important thing is it saves you money.