By Joseph J. Mazzella
It was a cool November afternoon and I was standing ankle deep in leaves with a rake in my hand. The trees were almost all bare and it was time to rake the leaves before the first snows started to fall. The sun was low in the sky and I knew it would be dark in just a few hours. Still, I was thankful for the smell of the dry leaves, the stark beauty of November and the chance to get a little exercise while I cleared the yard. I smiled as I raked and let my thoughts wander to other things that it took me awhile to be thankful for.
There were hand me down clothes, thick socks, and our warm, wood stove in the wintertime. There were spaghetti dinners after church on Sunday. There were Nana’s hugs and kisses. There was my mom’s kind smile that reappeared in the faces of my children. There was my dad’s quiet strength that kept our family going through the toughest of times. There were my two brothers who picked on me, teased me, toughened me up, yet loved me all the same.
There was every mongrel and mutt that ever licked my hand and gave me the gift of their unconditional love. There were musky old books so full of wisdom, tough teachers who made me try my hardest, and coaches who taught me to never give up. There were friends that I laughed with, played with, and grew up with who helped me become the person I am today. There were tough times, poverty, pain, my son’s handicaps, and many other things that brought me both sorrow and joy. There were millions of moments and memories that all kept me moving up the path of love on my journey back to God. And there was life itself!
It is never too late to be thankful and there are so many things and people to be thankful for. Let gratitude fill your hearth then. Let gratefulness bring you closer to God. Let love light your way. Let everyday be Thanksgiving. And always remember that the most powerful prayer in the world consists of two words: “Thank you!”