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November 23, 2006
Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is perhaps the only family holiday that really asks us a profound question: what do we have in our lives that earns our gratitude? So much time in our lives is devoted to striving and achieving that we lose sight of the blessings around us. On Thanksgiving, we are called to to pause, consider, and reflect, activties that are somewhat anathema to Americans on this most American of all holidays.

Every year I try to make my list, and every year I feel I miss the mark, in some fashion. But the process is valuable in itself, I believe. Just taking the time to look around us and measure the value of the people and places in our lives reminds us that they have an intrinsic value and an impact on who we are. Our family and friends shape us in ways both subtle and obvious. If we value ourselves, then we have to value them beyond our casual appreciations, even during those times when appreciations are difficult. Thanksgiving calls us to that greater appreciation, that clearer understanding, that self-analysis that we mostly avoid the other 364 days of the year.

In that vein, I'm going to give thanks for those who differ and oppose me politically. They are Americans who believe they are pursuing the best policies for this country that we love so much. They provide a needed counterbalance to ensure against abuse, as we do for them. They help me to hone my arguments, and in some cases, help me to see where I've been mistaken. Most of all, they demonstrate that democracy works, and that the nation will survive and strengthen itself through the open exchange of ideas and beliefs.

I'm also going to give thanks for the people in my family who choose not to celebrate with us. I'm sure most families have internal strife at some time, where people stop talking to each other, and my extended family is no different. Putting aside all of the developments that brought us to this state, they still remain a part of me and a part of my life for which I'm grateful. Hopefully, next Thanksgiving will bring us all back together again, but for now, I'm thankful for the part of my life they represent.

I'm thankful for the friends I no longer know. People come and go out of our lives, and each time represents a kind of death. The constant motion of life, the moves, marriages, births, divorces, and other clutter put friendships on a carousel where it feels like we jump from one horse to the next. I hope they are all doing well, and I treasure the time we spent together. I give thanks for the love they showed at the time I needed it, and I hope they feel the same about me.

Of course, I have plenty of family and friends around me for which to give thanks. We'll spend the day today with family, and some of my new friends in the blogosphere will get together tomorrow with me for lunch. I feel very grateful and quite humbled by the CQ community, the best in the 'sphere, I believe. I hope all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

UPDATE: Let's remember to give thanks to our men and women in the armed forces, and put our money where our thanks are. The Weekly Standard reminds us of two worthy charities that could use your support. First, Unmet Needs provides support for military families facing financial difficulties. They also mention the Wounded Warrior Project, which assists severely wounded soldiers and their families. Give a little something to both as a measure of our thanks for their sacrifices.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 23, 2006 10:31 AM

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