Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Here in Texas it’s a slightly warmer than usual Thanksgiving Day. 75 expected to be the high temperature, so no snow on the ground. Still it feels like Thanksgiving. I rose early to put the Turkey in the oven and later my family and friends will gather for the traditional food orgy that accompanies most Thanksgivings in the US.

I am reminded that while we feast much of the world starves. Americans will average over 3500 calories a day in the food we consume. Compare this to sub Saharan Africa where the average is only 2000 calories a day. That alone should be reason enough to give thanks. We are very lucky people.

For those who would challenge that claim saying, "luck has nothing to do with it, it’s hard work that makes us great". I would remind them that the subsistence farmer in South America works harder than most of us and he still barely ekes out a living. For that matter in this country there are hundreds of thousands of people working at minimum wage jobs, barely able to feed themselves without public assistance, and they work hard, very hard.

Hard work is important, but most of us are just plain lucky. Lucky to be born into a family with enough money to send us to school. Lucky to have the contacts and wealth to afford a good university. Lucky to be born with the right skin color or the right sexual organs to be successful with a minimum of obstacles in our way. For that we should be truly grateful, and give thanks.

Most importantly is the way we give thanks. I personally choose to show my gratitude to God and to my fellow human beings by making sure that at least a few people who might go to bed hungry are fed. I shop for several families’ Thanksgiving meal as part of my church benevolence program. I donate to charities to provide food and health care to the poor and underinsured. I pray with all my heart that my country can find a path to help the less fortunate of the world and ease the crippling affliction of hunger.

Not to be didactic, but for me, service is the best form of giving thanks. I only wish I could do more, but that is our lot as human beings. We can never be perfect, but we can strive for perfection and follow our better instincts.

At this festive time of year, I am grateful and wish everyone a joyful and bountiful Thanksgiving.

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