RICHMOND, Va.– As we reach the noon hour on this Thanksgiving Day 2014, time to pause briefly and reflect on the reason our nation breaks with routine to celebrate each year on the fourth Thursday of November.
Millions like me travel back to their hometowns to re-connect with family and join together in giving thanks. There’s no place like your home to remind of who you of how far you’ve come and how far you have yet to go. I came up with 10 REASONS I am giving thanks today.
How many of them do you share with me?
1. I am Thankful for Life and Health
So many people have come and gone since last Thanksgiving. In today’s Thanksgiving Day Message, Dr. A. Lincoln James, reminded us of the importance of just celebrating being here. We cannot take for granted life itself and good health.
2. I am Thankful for A Family and A Home
Later this afternoon, I’ll sit down at a Thanksgiving Table with my extended family, some of whom have encountered health challenges over the past year. But, it’s a joy to be able to break bread with them another time. My home of 44 years is intact, something a lot of people cannot say this Thanksgiving Day.
3. I am Thankful for A Great Work Environment and Co-workers
While I’m a long way from it today– Reese Phifer Hall where I work with a fantastic faculty as the assistant dean of administration for the College of Communication and Information Sciences is place of pleasure. I am thankful to have a job and to be able to work every day with students, faculty and staff who are truly committed to what they do. This past year I’ve worked for both an interim dean and a new dean who challenged me to be better at what I do. They’ve set a standard of excellence and lead by example. I look forward to getting back to my co-workers and students next week. I don’t take for granted this opportunity to love going to work every day at The University of Alabama.
4. I am Thankful for Safe Travels.
So far 2014 has been characterized by a good bit of travel to places near and far. In spite of lost luggage along the way, I am thankful that I have arrived at each destination safely and mostly, on time (smile). Even in the hustle and bustle of my journeys, I have seen and experienced parts of our nation and world for the first time. From Western Canada to Western North Carolina or two different regions of Texas and parts of Central Alabama, the travels have expanded my view of the world around me. Whether by car, train or plane, I thank God for safe travels to all of these places.
5. I am Thankful for the Opportunity to Make a Difference
I like the fact that in my work, I have the privilege of working with dozens of students every day. I have an opportunity to make a difference in their lives and the lives of those in the community where I serve. So I am thankful for the chance to see that I can make a difference every day that I’m alive.
6. I am Thankful To Be A Mentor and Be Mentored
Both in my role as a faculty member and in various community organizations, I am blessed to be able to mentor young men and women even as I look to those who ave more experienced in life and can mentor me. Both roles- mentor and mentee– are equally important and I’m grateful to be positioned to be and do both.
7. I am Thankful for Four Seasons
Here in Virginia, not too far from here, there was snow yesterday. Early talk of a White Thanksgiving for Central Virginia went away even as those west of here experienced snowy weather 24 hours ago. Usually I have to come home to Virginia to see snow, but in 2014, I experienced measurable snow in West Alabama last winter. For the first time, I have leaves to rake in the backyard of my Tuscaloosa home and we’ve had our share of 90-degree heat. It’s nice to have the four seasons even in the Deep South.
8. I am Thankful for A Vision to Make An Even Greater Impact on the World Around Me
God has given me a vision to be great at what I do so that I can impact those with whom I come in contact. That vision has yet to be fully realized. But, I am thankful that God has picked me to do such great things.
9. I am Thankful for Wisdom of 12 years in West Alabama
While many of my colleagues have shifted and re-adjusted in their work from place to place, now for more than a decade, I’ve been able to call West Alabama home away from home. There’s something to be said for stability and being settled where you are even as you take in the wisdom of those around you. I am thankful for job and career that places me in contact with those who have wisdom to share and shape my whole lived experience.
10. I am Thankful for 33 More Days to Get It Right in 2014
For all of those things I still need to and want to do this year, I still have time to make waves, accomplish more great things THIS year. Even as I write this, I am setting some 4 1/2 week personal goals for what I believe God will have me do before the New Year begins. Stay tuned!