THIS great holiday of thanks and giving is not a date on a calendar, but a state of mind.

It is about our capacity to realize things that we can, sometimes, only imagine. No matter how difficult the election was for each of us, there are always others who are going through more severe hardships.

The most heavily traveled day of the year arrives with even more seasoned flyers— making new calculations, as they inhale news about airports and airlines that make them long for proof that safety has improved.

It is why, in whatever fashion, women knock themselves out each year, as the men watch their Thanksgiving Day games. We cook our hearts out and make beds in spare rooms. As we brace ourselves for the in-laws and grandchildren, our ingenuity is re-doubled. We slave over a hot stove, always giving more than what we get. And of course, settle into tryptophan-induced nap.

As part of tradition, it is a time to witness big family fights! Then, everyone eats turkey for a week.

It is time to recognize and celebrate the unexpected blessings in our lives, and hope, how through goodness and wisdom, we may succeed in transmitting truths that bring tranquility to the human spirit. In our chosen calling, as little pencils of God, that each of us can bless life and thus repair the world, just by being more ourselves, that in our most precious possession.

I am grateful of my family for many reasons: for what I see them to be, for the loveliness they have been, for the good I know in them. I love their essence, their “could be,” in spite of knowing their faults well, the individual life in them that I saw as a bud and watched unfold—enchanted and anxious.

I have watched it win its prizes and I have learned the hard truth—that a mother learns slowly, that the quick intimacy she has known becomes hope for loved strangers; even her inability to let them be. For she is impelled to know that the seeds of value sown in her have been winnowed. For no matter how old a mother is, she watches her middle-aged children for signs of improvement. She never outgrows the burden of love and to the end, she carries the weight of hope for those she bore—half-expecting the newborn child will make the world better.

Thanksgiving Day is first and foremost about family and friends who have touched our lives. We are truly grateful. We are truly grateful. As Santayana once wrote, friends “are part of the race where one can be human.” Having shared their fragility and resiliency—never asking for proofs or expressions of affection—they were always simply there for you. There is always something palpably different in the way you bond, in the way you spend your time together. Sometimes it is just about being together, sharing joys, tears and pain of loss and laughter.  There was never an “I” but a “we,” whether we hang tough together or hang on to each other, or whether we keep the worst from each other or confess. There’s never a show off, just a subtly, restrained respect and sharing of the minds.

And to be taken into the folds of AJP, is a homage and a lifetime debt of gratitude and self-worth.

We find plenty of reasons to be thankful—including moms, grandchildren, teachers, music, second chances, American citizenship, and the thrill of a blissful newfound set of diligent helpmates in the photo world.

Today there is awareness that it is not simply the time for parades and fancy home cooked meals, but time to get together with our friends and families for that happily anticipated warm and happy times.

Thanksgiving is gratitude and appreciation of life as it is: an acceptance of much in life that we can not understand, learning how to celebrate life until you find the unkown blessing is in everything.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving, gentle readers.

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