OPINION – With the Thanksgiving holiday straight ahead, it’s a safe bet that some of this year’s family gatherings may be a bit more strained than previous years.
In some homes, the best hope for peace is that the turkey coma sets in quickly.
The sense of division and resentment that has settled over our nation is permeating our relationships at virtually every level. Most of us personally know individuals who have severed ties with family, friends or business relations over perceived political differences.
In the interest of not furthering those divides, I’d like to focus instead on some of the things for which I feel genuine gratitude.
I’m thankful for my family and the roller coaster ride that comes along with them. The challenges of providing a stable home to our children is a never-ending source of joy and alarm for Becky and me.
Like most folks, we stress over deficits of money and time, and we struggle to keep up with the mounting responsibilities of parenting — the only full-time job you truly cannot quit.
I’m thankful for my kids’ successes as we await the arrival of our first grandchild and my son’s nearing departure to serve a mission for his church. I’m also thankful for their struggles, whether it be in schoolwork or their own personal growth.
I’m thankful my kids know full well that their dad is fallible, yet they choose to love me and seek me out for advice and support anyway. They make me appreciate how much I owe my own parents for their selflessness.
I’m thankful for my friends, especially those who are willing to love me despite our differences of mind. Through these differences, they have enlarged my understanding by allowing me to see the world through their eyes.
I’m also thankful for my critics and detractors. I can count on them to hold my feet to the fire and point out the many areas where I need improvement. They have helped me to examine and refine my own thoughts through our discussions and interactions. This, in turn, has provided much-appreciated color and depth to my worldview.
I am thankful for the things in my life that require real effort, for the difficulty that accompanies physical conditioning and the labor involved in learning. It feels good to earn a lower readout on the bathroom scale and to own the knowledge I’ve worked hard to understand.
I’m thankful for the things that remind me to be more humble and appreciate more fully what I have. The older I get, the more I recognize the power of valuing of the people in my life and how material things matter less.
I am thankful for the incredible scenic beauty of the place I call home. When I first visited Southern Utah as an eight-year-old, I never forgot the sense of wonder I felt seeing the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon.
That sense of wonder has only grown as I’ve experienced the beauty of Zion National Park, Snow Canyon, Toroweap, Capitol Reef, Cedar Mountain, Pine Valley and the Arizona Strip.
In the twenty years I’ve lived in Southwestern Utah, I’ve come to discover that I live in one of the most scenic areas in the world. I love to share it with family and friends who come to visit.
I am also thankful for the magnificent people who choose to live here. My life has been blessed by being able to rub shoulders with an amazing array of people from every walk of life.
They include gifted surgeons, inspiring educators, remarkable artists, hard-working business owners, humble farmers and ranchers and a host of other genuinely good people. I’ve seen how they rally around those in need and pull together in times of disaster.
Whatever problems exist within our communities, there is no shortage of kindness and generosity where it really counts.
I’m thankful for my friends and loved ones who have come and gone. In their own way, each has left an indelible mark on my life and has helped to shape me into who I am today.
They live on in my heart and in my memories, and they remind me that the most important things we will accomplish in our lives are best measured in the lives we’ve impacted positively.
I’m thankful for the legitimate pain I felt at their loss. It affirmed the authenticity of my love for them and has sharpened my desire to demonstrate my appreciation daily to the people around me.
These are just a few of the things for which I’m thankful. Notice how none of them are dependent upon any particular political outcome?
I highly recommend this gratitude-based exercise for anyone who wishes to sail clear of the emotional doldrums in which so many are currently stranded.
Bryan Hyde is a news commentator, radio host and opinion columnist in Southern Utah. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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