Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thankful for Hope

By Nichole Giles

Have you ever noticed how people get so excited for Christmas that they inadvertently forget to celebrate Thanksgiving? How could anyone forget that most wonderful of meals? How could anyone gloss over a giant turkey, mountains of mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, homemade rolls, and pies that cover more counter space than any one kitchen would allow?

Well, we don’t. We eat. Of course we eat. We watch football, plan for black Friday shopping, and gorge ourselves until we can’t keep our eyes open. Then we fall asleep on a handy surface somewhere until we wake up and stuff ourselves some more.

For most families, this is the holiday tradition. At least, it's a good description of how my Thanksgiving Day usually works. And to tell the truth, it’s a good tradition. It’s familiar and fun. But there is one tradition that started when I was 12 years old. Unfortunately, this is a tradition I never shared with my family. I chose to share this particular tradition with a very special close friend.

We sat alone at a card table in the garage at my Grandparents house during one warm Arizona Thanksgiving Day. Our plates were loaded with all the traditional fixin’s—I’m sure of that, since my grandma would never have it any other way—even though I don’t remember a thing about the food that day.

Although it wasn’t something we’d done with either of our families, we took a moment of time to ponder the year that had passed. We picked out the things we were grateful for, the life lessons we’d learned, and then we made goals for how we could make use of these lessons in order to be better people during the upcoming year.

I know, it sounds more like a New Year’s tradition than Thanksgiving. But when you really think about it, they go hand in hand. Being thankful for something should give you a reason to make more goals.

Anyway, since today is Thanksgiving you can bet I’m hard at work making a feast for 30 + people. But I’m not complaining. Actually, since we’re all friends, I thought maybe I’d share with my readers a few of the things I am thankful for. Because it’s a holiday, I’ll do my best to keep it short. (But since I’m a writer that is difficult to guarantee.)

I am thankful for my friends. Without them, my life would be boring and incomplete. This year, I’d like to try to remember to thank them for their friendship and let them know how much better my life is because they are in it.

I am thankful for my talents. Eveyone has talents, but each of us is different. Individual. This year, I will continue to hone my skills, to study, and to perservere.

I am thankful for my family. You know, that should be a given, but I realize that some people don’t have a family with whom to celebrate. They are my breathing air, my life blood, and I could not survive this life without them.

I could write pages and pages of the things I’m thankful for, but I won’t bore you with all of them. Just one more, then you can go back to eating turkey and pie.

I am thankful for hope. In so many aspects of life, hope is the thing that gives us meaning. Hope is the reason writers keep submitting, even when they’ve been rejected over and over and over again. When life gets tough, it is the thing that keeps us moving forward minute after minute, hour after hour, and day after day until that thing we continually pray for becomes ours. Hope is the heart of every soldier who fights to make a difference, the breath of every child lying in a hospital and waiting for a cure, the wings on which angels deliver a baby to a couple that has struggled to conceive.

Hope is the Christmas wish of a destitute child, the prayers of a single mother struggling to pay her grocery bill, and the loving arms of a long lost friend, showing up at the moment when they are needed most. Hope is the thing that keeps us going when we think we have nothing else to lose.

I hope that this year I can finish and submit a publishable novel. I hope that the people who are suffering through difficult trials will keep moving forward until they find themselves in the light of happiness. I hope our soldiers can make a difference, that sick children might be given a second chance at life, and that everyone in the world can find some reason to have hope.

Hope for a chance to make a better future.

Happy Thanksgiving from the LDS Writers Blogck!

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