Today in America we celebrate the holiday of Thanksgiving. Family and friends gather from near or far to spend time with each other and of course, eat. Thanksgiving is always center around the feast. But we also take time to reflect on those things, big or small, which are important in our lives. I have been preparing for Thanksgiving for over a week now since everyone will gather at my house. The logistics of the day are all in order: the house is clean, the turkeys are bought, I have my list of who is bringing what to share. To me, Thanksgiving is always so much more than the dinner.
Every year I am always thankful for the big things: good health and happiness. I am married to a good man; I have two wonderful, healthy teenage sons who are growing into fine young men. I have a good job with wonderful coworkers, and most importantly, I know my faith in God is strong.
I wanted to take a different approach this year to what I am thankful for in my life. There are so many people who won’t be celebrating with their families today; whether they don’t have anywhere to go or they cannot travel to be together. I especially think of the young men and women in our military who are serving in the war and may not have a Thanksgiving dinner.
This past Tuesday I had the opportunity to travel to Kentucky to help a parish community prepare CARE packages to ship to our soldiers in Afghanistan. They collected an abundance of items that all had to be boxed, forms had to be filled out and the truck had to get loaded. Two soldiers came from a nearby base to help and you could just see the gratitude in their eyes and hear it in their voices. They told of how much these packages are appreciated by the soldiers who receive them. As I drove home I had plenty of time to think about what I was a part of. I really felt good. I think about our soldiers and try to envision how happy they will be when those packages arrive. That is what I am truly thankful for this year; that I had the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of some of our soldiers.
I wish you all a happy and peaceful Thanksgiving.
Claire Smith ([email protected]) is on staff at the Province Development Office in Chicago, Illinois.