I woke up Thanksgiving morning feeling more stressed than thankful. While not unaware of the blessings that fill my life, these blessings have recently taken a back seat to stress. Turnover in the office, conflict in some relationships, a recurrence of chronic pain issues and even a sick dog have weighed heavily on my mind. My morning began with a tinge of sadness and I found myself reflecting on more negatives than positives.
A tweet helped change my mind.
The tweet was from Don Willett, Texas Supreme Court Justice. It featured the picture in this post with the comment, “This Thanksgiving, remember with gratitude America’s peerless military, far from home & close to danger.” I did what as Justice Willet suggested, and took time to remember the blessings secured and preserved by the millions of men and women who have served.
I remembered that I live in a free nation, with a free economy in which I am blessed not only to have a job, but to own my own business. I go to work when I choose, leave when I choose, pay my employees what I choose to pay them and am free to do what I believe is in my patients’ best interests.
I am free to worship. Each Sunday morning, I wake up with the ability to not only go to church, but to choose which church to go to. The pastors are free to preach whatever they want without fear of recrimination or arrest. I am free to give to the church of my choice and the money I give is not taxed by the government.
I am free to vote. I may not always like the choices I find in the ballot booth but I am free to vote, or not vote, for whomever I want. The candidates are chosen by the people, not by the government.
I am free to speak out. I can criticize the government, I can march against perceived oppression, and can stand on a street corner with a sign supporting or denouncing any cause or position I choose.
I have all of these rights and hundreds more because someone else fought for them. My ability to sit with my family to eat Thanksgiving dinner today exists because of others who have sacrificed time with their families in order to preserve my freedoms, which is a lot to be thankful for.