Looking back over this past year on my personal life, and the lives of people across this vast land I realize that for many thinking of things to be grateful for may prove very difficult this up coming Thursday. But I am reminded of words my mother continued to speak almost daily during her last year as she lost her battle with cancer.
I would be driving her to her chemo therapy appointments and she would suddenly turn to me as we looked out and enjoyed the changing leaves of fall on the trees planted on the parkway we took the medical center. She would turn and say "You know DeNice, we are very blessed...", and I would always stop and think for a moment how strong she was to be going through what she was enduring, and to still see each new day as a day filled with blessings of some sort if we but opened our eyes.
All over the world finances are in turmoil, people who saved lifetimes are now watching stock markets tumble to the ground. People who worked for most of their lives for major companies are now either without a job, or worried that the doors will close tomorrow. People who realized the dream of home ownership are now watching those dreams fade away to dust. People with children are worrying how will they continue to to keep them clothed, fed and housed. And many will ask themselves "Thankful, what can I possibly be thankful for???"
In 1620, a group of people left the only home they had ever known, aboard a ship to travel over 3000 miles to a land they had never seen. Their trip was perilous, the sea was beset by storms. They did not turn back. When they landed, on these shores it was the middle of winter. Many were already very weak from their hazardous 2 month voyage. The local Native people shared their knowledge with people who today would be called "illegal aliens". They helped them to survive, to flourish, and to establish the beginnings of what would the first of many colonies to come. Colonies which would develop into the land that I call home today.
This great land has gone thorough many changes since those days, some for the better, and some we as citizens have lived to regret and to learn from the mistakes made all along the way. But we are blessed, we are blessed that those early pilgrims did not turn back, we are blessed that they felt led by faith to make the journey, we are blessed that they were befriended by a people whom they could not even communicate with, we are blessed that those living here first allowed them to live amongst them.
And today we are blessed, because we still have leaders who have asked to lead, who will not give up, we are blessed because others in history traveled to this land also to make it what it is today. We are blessed because today technology, connects us to others far far away and makes the world seem smaller. It is for all of this and much much more I will be grateful this Thanksgiving, I will be grateful for all of those who came before so that I could live so blessed.
Kermit Oliver's Madison Ave. to me speaks to the rich bounty of this great land, the flowers, the animals, the people, those here now, and those from the past. The title when standing alone, may speak of material things, but Oliver's painting makes us realize what is truly valuable. He contrasts true wealth, with what is perceived wealth or bounty. He leaves it up to us to decide.
I hope you enjoy the video exploration, and I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving
The song is a Native American piece called "Mahk Jchi (Heartbeat Drum Song)"
Written by Pura Fe, Soni, Jen. Saponi translation by Lawrence Dunmore. Performed by Ulali: Pura Fe, Soni, Jen. Album: Music for the Native Americans