Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Give Thanks Everyday

This Thursday is our traditional time to give thanks for all we have in our lives. I always thought that appointing one day to give thanks was a bit odd, but there is far more to the day. We are celebrating the Pilgrims that survived that first year in Plimouth, and their giving thanks for their survival. So many of them did not survive that first year, and they may have all perished if it were not for the Wampanoag.

The Pilgrims took those bad times and built from them. Having their heads all in one positive place helped to insure they were all on the same page. A celebration of communal survival was something they could all be part of, and also set the stage for the times that were to come.

A football team doesn't usually celebrate a loosing season, but they should. They may not have made it out of the season in one healthy piece, and may have not made the best of choices during the year, but they finished, and the experience was something to learn from. Instead of going their separate ways after the last game, and reuniting the following July, they should celebrate, and give thanks for what positive things did happen.

Acknowledging the negative things, as well as the positive is the very best way to insure that the mistakes of the past are not made again.

The Pilgrims grasped this concept.

But, getting back to that one-day-a-year thing. It is a great way, and excuse, for rounding up family and friends, dressing up, and sharing a meal. The day is a low key one. We need that. Our lives are too crazy. We need to shut down, and take the time to let our bodies, and minds have a holiday. I think it is great that most businesses are shuttered on Thursday, and Friday. This way one is not stressed to catch up with life the following day. You can do that on Monday.

Yes, we need this one day a year to shut down, and when we are sitting in that comfortable chair, watching the Macy's parade, and waiting for the bird to come out of the oven, look around, and start acknowledging the things in your life. Start giving thanks then.

Give thanks for your being there in the first place. You survived another year. Then seek out your partners face in the room, and give thanks. The little faces spread about the room, the older ones talking in the kitchen, the table that is set so nicely, and waiting for the meal, the seven year old van in the garage that hasn't failed you yet, the roof that is not leaking, and anything else that has touched your life. Acknowledge it all, and give thanks.

Don't take anything for granted.

When we place our minds in this place, and take an accounting of all the things that are in our lives that are good, and the things that weren't so good, but we learned from, we become that much more enlightened.

Although we set aside the last Thursday of November for our giving thanks day, don't let that stop you from giving thanks the remainder of the year. Give thanks each time you arrive home safely, when the flu begins to break up in your little one. Give thanks that there is at least one meal to be made still in the cupboard, and you have two quarters for a newspaper.

Take nothing for granted, the Pilgrims didn't, and neither should we.

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