In a perfect world, the latter question should find itself with top billing in most Cleveland and Bradley County households. But reality is what it is, and the appetite-teasing aromas emerging from Mom’s and Grandma’s kitchens are understandably, and inevitably, the perennial contender for crowd favorite.
But the whole idea of Thanksgiving still lends itself to this food for thought: For what are you most thankful? And perhaps most importantly, why?
It is our experience that people are thankful for all things different. Just as beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, those around us are often grateful for parts of their lives that hold less meaning in our own.
It doesn’t make anybody right. It surely makes no one wrong.
Being thankful is as much a state of mind as it is a material possession, person or thing.
Some are thankful for loved ones. Some are thankful for careers. Some are thankful for good health. Some are thankful for a new car. Some are thankful for old friends.
Others are thankful for good times, precious memories, cherished moments and days of sun with little rain. Others like the rain and they call it their liquid sunshine.
As we said, a true spirit of thanksgiving is less a time and more a mindset.
A recent cruise of the Internet left us amazed at one such positive attitude. We found it on a website called “Inc. The 2013 Hire Power Awards.” The article was penned by Jeff Haden, a talented and business-savvy writer who challenges our accepted values on Thanksgiving and all for which we are traditionally thankful.
He titled his piece, “10 Unexpected Reasons to Give Thanks.” Allow us to list them here while quoting in part from the author’s rationale:
1. Failure: “When we fail, we can move on to something else, with luck and a little wiser and a lot more likely to succeed.”
2. Criticism: “People criticize only when they care. While people still care about you ... you have the opportunity to do something better, to do something differently, to change their minds, or to just meet you in the middle.”
3. Sadness: “When you’re sad, that means you care, and caring is the mother of changing things for the better.”
4. Respect: “Think of people you admire. Think of people who have earned your trust and esteem. Be thankful those people are a part of your life.”
5. Options: “Imagine how it would feel to have few, if any, options. Imagine how it would feel to have few, if any, viable choices. Be thankful you have options ... the more, the better.”
6. Struggle: “When you struggle and fight and endure, you not only stretch the limits of what you believe you are capable of, but you also sometimes enter a state of grace that you find only when you strip away what is truly nonessential.”
7. Delay: “Be thankful you need to wait ... especially for something you really want. The anticipation alone is worth it. Besides, waiting for what you want — not what you need, but what you want — is a luxury only those who are already blessed can afford.”
8. Regret: “Call a friend you’ve lost touch with. Mend fences with a family member. Be the bigger person and say you’re sorry. Do something you wish you had done.”
9. Family: “They can be terrible, and you’ll miss them terribly when they’re gone. Smile. See the good in each of them, and be glad you have a family. Many people would love to have a terrible family like yours.”
10. This Moment: “Time is our most important asset and what we should all be most thankful for. Time makes everything else possible. Don’t waste it.”
We ask again. For what are you most thankful and why?
A feeling of thanksgiving need not be limited to one day in a year filled with 365. It is a privilege born of equal opportunity, one best felt and most appreciated by an open mind, a focused eye and a heart aglow.
Happy Thanksgiving, Cleveland and Bradley County!
You are our hometown and for that we remain forever thankful.