Thursday, November 25, 2010

Blessed and Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! Today, instead of blogging about the usual stuff (enjoy another image of the Korean War Veterans Memorial above), I would like to take this opportunity to share what I am thankful for this year. I have many blessings, so here are a few highlights:
  1. Family and friends -- Whether near or far, related or adopted, family and friends make living a joy and I'm so grateful for their support, encouragement, and love. They often remind me of God's compassion and grace through their words, gestures and thoughts.
  2. Freedom -- To speak my mind, to believe what I believe is true, to execute my ability to cast a ballot, and so many more, I'm grateful for the foresight of our Founding Fathers and the oversight of those that followed to perfect the Constitution and extend so many freedoms to Americans. Each news broadcast, remind us that there are other global citizens who do not have those rights. Thank you to those who place their lives on the line -- men and women in uniform -- to protect our freedoms every day.
  3. Employment -- I'm grateful that I have a job that does a little good in the world and affords me to live in Washington, DC and stay sheltered and fed and able to travel to visit family or celebrate with friends. During these difficult economic times, I'm particularly grateful for this blessing this year.
  4. Senses -- My senses of sight, sound and touch help make photography and all that I do so much easier and the senses of taste and smell make enjoying life's pleasures easier as well. I'm grateful for the fullness of my life and the role that these senses play in making that possible.
  5. Peacemakers -- I'm grateful for those individuals here in the United States and around the world who toil and strive to make this world a better place. They give a voice to the voiceless and force those who can only hear their own voice to listen to others. In times of war, terror, poverty and struggle, their work brings us closer to the ideal -- a world filled with only love and peace. Blessed are they and us for their tireless efforts.
  6. Nature -- In spring, summer, autumn and winter, I'm daily reminded of the beauty and miracle of nature. I'm grateful for its majesty and willingness to be a subject for my photographs. I hope we will become better caretakers of the Earth, so that future generations can witness its wonder in person and not need to rely on archival footage to see nature in its former glory.
  7. Time -- It is fragile and fleeting, but a valuable treasure. At times it seems like have too little. However, in truth, we often have an abundance of time. We just don't use it well or appreciate fully when we have it. Each day I live, I'm grateful for the life (and time) between the dash. 
The Dash
 I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning to the end.

He noted that first came the date of her birth
And spoke of the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own,
The cars, the house, the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard;
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left
That can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’s true and real
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect
And more often wear a smile,
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.

So when your eulogy is being read
With your life’s actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?

© 1996 Linda Ellis

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