Thanksgiving is here.
Terrorist attacks continue to threaten people everywhere and we are saddened by the deaths and pain of the victims of these atrocities. Our nation is in the grasp of racial tensions and suspicions of police actions that we haven't seen for decades. Pennsylvania is without a budget, causing schools to seek funding elsewhere and curtailing an increasing amount of services throughout the state.
Politics in our country, at all levels, has taken an ugly turn to a point where if you're not on the extreme left or extreme right, you're wrong.
But the American dream hasn't become a nightmare – it is still alive as long as we care enough to right our unstable ship.
To many, the ears of our elected leaders have become deaf to the pleas of their constituents. We should be thankful that we live in a country where we can vote to remove those who have taken advantage of their positions. That is, provided we care enough to vote and that party leaders present us with candidates who are worth voting for.
We can be thankful that we and others will be vigilant, and that if we "see something, say something" can help curb terrorist attacks – provided we're not in a hurry to get to our next destination or afraid of the legal repercussions that could arrive from an honest, mistaken report.
We can be thankful that a budget agreement in our state seems near and hope that those affected school districts and service organizations, forced to pay interest on loans to keep them afloat over the past five months, will get back on their feet; if state officials can stop poking each other in the eye.
I can go on and on, but you get the drift. If we want to change things for the better, it will be up to the people to make it – or not.
The problems seem so big and we're so small. When we close our eyes to them, we not only hide the bad, but we're robbed of the sight of the good.
Don't just talk the talk, walk the walk! What have you done today to help someone or take that first step towards helping to change the future? That first helping hand can be to your family, community, school, church, friends, someone in need, or yourself.
Pay-it-forward is a wonderful concept. The beneficiary of a good deed repaying it to others instead of repaying it to the benefactor is a concept that can grow kindness and much more. We should all practice it and not only strive to maintain it, but be the first to start a good deed and send it on its way.
At a time when hate permeates the halls of hallowed government institutions, urban streets and too many homes, resolve that you will not hate. Disagreeing, being vigilant and aware, and being cautious is not hating.
You will not be hard left or hard right – you will be yourself. Find it in your heart and mind to believe that courtesy, kindness and understanding can exist in you along with strength and determination.
You can be thankful for things you receive or you can be thankful for what you can give.
This Thanksgiving, give thanks for the future and the part you can play in it.