Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Blessed and Giving Thanks

I'm not the type who typically makes a fairly maudlin statement like this (and those who know me will understand how rare this particular sentiment is) but I can say lately that I feel blessed.

Not in any grandiose way mind you, just blessed enough recently to have slowed down my thoughts, recognized, and appreciated what we have and lost concern for what have not. The word 'blessed' is a tricky term I use very infrequently as I deem it something of truly highest value and only when something unusually special is afoot. I thank my parents for providing that significant clarification in my head.

Many people I hear use the word 'blessed' inappropriately in my opinion. Someone claiming to be blessed almost implies, with an air approaching arrogance, some sort holy favor has been given them. Sometimes it is also meant as a segue into a religious sentiment/diatribe meant to extend their 'goodness' upon you. I reject any notion that someone else's diety or beliefs are worthy of more concern than mine. I, likewise, do not believe my personal theological and philosophical inclinations are necessarily worthy of sharing in any way other than if inquired.

My blessing has come recently from the enlightenment that, despite the current economic mess becoming more sinkhole-ish every day, many people I know are trying willfully and stubbornly to remain positive which I believe is keeping a great many people afloat right now. Much of this seems to be a result of eschewing the unneccesary day-to-day distractions and focusing energies tighter and more locally on issues of immediate concern.

The geographic area in which we live is a fairly dense production-based manufacturing area surrounded by agriculture. Ag is not an industry that allows for one to just jump in and work, so the manufacturing sector is where most people in this area work. Needless to say the slumps in housing (manufactured), and gasoline based transportation vehicles (autos and RVs) really strike this area quite cruelly. The thing that is helpful to me is that, while many have been forced to quickly retool their lives and livelihood, many people I've encountered speak of how important a sense of community is and that we need to rely on each other in hard times.

Remembering the last major slump in this area would require someone aged enough to have a clear recollection of 1979, '80, and '81. I am very glad to hear the voices of today not being so pessimistic and eager to assign blame which typically serves only to extinguish what little goodwill exists to support each other. A cautiously positive and prudent tone is emerging and I, for one, am fairly surprised and quite thrilled to hear it.

It is for this positive sentiment, from people whose livelihoods is of more grave concern than mine, which has caused me to pause. That pause has allowed me to see all that I have - family, friends, community, small networks of people being good to each other and helping those in need. It is for that little (and equally enormous) pause that I am thankful.

During this pause, and maybe I'm breaking my own rule with this, I further wish for nothing but sweet and blessed times for you and yours.

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