Three ‘Fs’ combine to give my life meaning
This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for my three “Fs”— family, friendships and faith, which cover (nearly) everything that brings meaning and purpose to my life.
Family comes first because I had no choice in selecting the kinfolk who brought me into existence. Yet I treasure them because they know me as I am and have no investment in feeding my ego. Many of them love me unconditionally. They stand by me when I fail — and even remember my birthday. They tell me when I need a haircut and pat me on the back when I do something right. Most of all they love me because — and in spite — of myself. And the words of the sage who said, “No man succeeds without a good woman behind him — wife or mother — and if it is both, he is twice blessed” resonate with me.
Friendships come second because my friends enrich my life with ideas, perspectives and practices that inform my own point of view. They recommend books, movies, wines, restaurants, travel destinations, concerts — and even single malts. And we savor delightful times together in our homes, at the theater, watching sporting events and chatting over coffee. These meaningful interactions often enable me to see horizons beyond my own limited perspective.
Finally, faith provides the adhesive that joins us all together. An old hymn put it like this: “Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love.” The beauty of my faith is a belief in grace, which unlike karma, isn’t all about getting what you deserve. Grace is the love of God bestowed on humankind regardless of merit. Grace enables me to embrace my fellow brothers and sisters regardless of race, age, ethnicity, politics, sexual orientation or religious belief. And grace teaches me that love is the strongest force in the universe. It is truly amazing.
My hope for the coming year is that we not return to the old normal but forge new pathways in our conduct of work, recreation, worship, entertainment and other endeavors.
And I pray that we may never heap contempt on those with whom we disagree, but listen to and respect one another as fellow persons created in the image of God.
Emery J. Cummins, Pacific Beach
Glad so many share goals to fix problems
The many heartbreaking events of the past year have thrown my own good fortune into stark relief.
In my home state of Wisconsin, 13,000 Afghan refugees are housed at Fort McCoy awaiting resettlement. They’re struggling to learn a new language, dealing with cold weather, often without adequate clothing, all while grieving for everything they’ve lost. Others in the country, some without insurance, lost everything they owned in national disasters, whether wildfires in California, hurricanes in Louisiana or flooding and mudslides in the Northwest. And close to 800,000 Americans have died of COVID-19, leaving behind grieving families, while survivors often face lingering symptoms.
Many underserved populations struggle to get booster shots, and others are confused by conflicting information about the safety and efficacy of vaccinations. Countless individuals battle homelessness, many having lost their homes due to past medical disasters and job losses, while others struggle with severe mental illness. And though most police officers behave admirably, we continue to see unarmed African Americans suffer at the hands of a few, and struggle to find justice for them.
Given all those circumstances, I have never been more aware of my good fortune, having a loving family; a safe, comfortable home and wonderful health care. Many years ago, I developed a brain tumor, was referred to a terrific neurosurgeon, and had good insurance, a supportive husband and a mother who was able to care for our small sons during my surgery and recovery. Finally, our sons have had access to wonderful public schools from the time they were small.
So I’m extremely thankful every day for my many blessings.
In the coming year, I would like to see increased compassion and civility, both individually and at all levels of government. I support increasing efforts to address climate change, and to educate those who persist in denying its impact on our planet. I support improved access to vaccines for all who seek them. I also support vaccine and mask mandates, since those actions prevent hospitalizations and deaths from the virus, as well as its spread to the immunocompromised and to those too young to be vaccinated.
I support continuing the actions our local leaders have taken to house the homeless, and to provide resources to help people get back on their feet. I support the improved selection of police officers, their training in de-escalation techniques and the increased use of video cameras. Before my retirement, I worked at a free clinic in Wisconsin where everyone on the medical staff was a volunteer, seeing patients who couldn’t otherwise afford care.
I would love to see the funding of similar clinics to serve those in need, particularly as the health of so many has been affected by the pandemic. As I look over my goals, I’m struck by the fact that, thanks to positive leadership and the wisdom of so many in our community, we’re well on our way toward achieving many of them.
And for that, I’m most thankful of all.
Denise Beckfield, Pacific Beach
Thankful for health, now and in the future
With the 2021 holiday season starting, I am thankful for the fact that none of my family have been affected by COVID-19. As a whole, our country has been heading in the right direction and not getting worse.
I am also thankful that we will be able to be with friends this Thanksgiving and our family on Christmas.
Also, I am thankful that some of the stores are coming back. That will help with unemployment. With most people still wearing masks to protect themselves and others, I thank them for not spreading anything they may have. I am also very thankful that I have a family in good health to spend this holiday season and the coming year with.
Tom Fox, Normal Heights
Honestly I’m just thankful for our health. I haven’t lost any family members to COVID-19 and we have remained employed. My children have been healthy and going to daycare and school with openings and closings. All my family has been vaccinated this year and my 8 year old was just recently vaccinated.
This Thanksgiving we will be grateful for our health.
Cindy Cobb, Carlsbad
God, family, friends and health top the list
What am I most thankful for? Where do I start?
So much to be thankful for — might as well start at the top. I am thankful for a God who has blessed me in so many ways. One of the many gifts he has blessed me with are two of the most wonderful parents who ever took on the massive responsibility of raising children. I cannot imagine two better people than mom and dad to raise Brenda, Sandra, Ed and me. With us for 99 and 96 years respectively, they almost made it to their 75th anniversary, falling one year short.
Another gift I am thankful for is my first wife who presented me with two of the most incredible human beings ever made. Nick and Natalie continue to amaze me with the way they conduct their lives. Along with this gift eventually came six of the most beautiful grandchildren ever: Mackenzie, Riley, Nico, Jordan, Conner and Michael. I am having so much fun watching them grow, from the time they were born into the young children they have become, ranging in ages from 2 months to 6 years.
I am thankful for my time with Kim, and we’re currently working on our 34th year together. If I had not met her, I would not have ever known her one and only son, Jason, who we tragically lost in Iraq. In addition, I would not have met Kim’s wonderful family if we had never met and I might not have visited Ireland, Greece or Rome without Kim. I am thankful for all my family — nothing like close blood relatives who support you no matter what.
I am thankful for a doctor who operated on my torn-up knee in 1974. He must have done a marvelous job because I am still playing tennis after playing four years of football after the operation. I am thankful for all my coaches who believed in me and gave me a chance. I am thankful for all my tennis buddies who continue to provide camaraderie through the greatest game ever invented.
I almost forgot to mention all my teaching buddies through the years who have guided me through the greatest profession in the world. A true thank you cannot exist without mentioning pets who have helped me navigate through life’s ups and downs. Thank you Sadie, Mimi, Taz and Stella.
For the coming year? At the risk of being greedy, I’d like to enjoy continued good health with my family, friends and pets! I would also like to get my hands on some tasty miracles to read. Might not be a bad idea to include the possibility of teaching without masks soon. Happy Thanksgiving to all!
Jim Valenzuela, Poway
Happy to live where progress is embraced
What am I thankful for? At first glance, I thought, “Didn’t I get this prompt sometime in elementary school?” But the more I thought about it, the more I respected the question. It is super easy to get caught up in the mire of the everyday grind or to take a stand with anger in our hearts and defend it ferociously. Both can lead to bad humor and pessimism. The reality is there is a lot to be thankful for. So much, it cannot all be listed here.
To start, I am thankful that I live in a society that allows me to write to my local paper and occasionally be published. It is reassuring to know that our voices can be heard in a public arena. I am thankful that science has provided us with a vaccine to protect us from a potentially deadly virus. Just over 100 years ago there was no vaccine for the Spanish flu, resulting in a greater proportion of fatalities than we have today.
I am thankful when I see political partisan cooperation. I believe we are more alike than we are different. I am a teacher and am thankful for all the parents, grandparents, friends and families who helped our children get through Zoom classes for a year. It wasn’t fun, but most weathered this with grace. I am thankful for peaceful discourse and that we live in a country that protects this discourse as a tenet of our constitution.
I read the international news the other day. Unbelievable starvation and malnutrition in Ethiopia, girls in Afghanistan being denied an education, Russia again amassing troops along the border with Ukraine. More than anything I am thankful I live here, in the United States of America. Are we still addressing racism, homelessness, women’s rights and financial inequality? Yes, but I know we will continue to chip away at these issues until they are resolved. I know this because that is what we do and that is who we are.
We are all lucky that we have the liberty and constitutional rights that come with living in this great country. I think, at the end of the day, that is what I am thankful for most of all.
Vicki Hoffman, Rolando
Happy for a columnist who talks turkey
Re “Dream of perfection” (Nov. 21): What a delight to read David Von Drehle’s description of cooking a turkey, filled with metaphors and similes involved in the annual “ritual” of “tokens of love.” In this time of bloodcurdling polarization, we need all the metaphors of love we can find.
I can almost hear the sweet, happy voices wafting through the house or gathering place, singing of the joy of life, which involves a day of thanks.
Thanks to Von Drehle for writing a humorous reason for sacrifice — something the world needs desperately, love. And I believe it doesn’t matter whether you cook the turkey or ham or buy it or eat with friends, it still is the same. Love is there, just for the simple act of gathering and enjoying.
Chet Chebegia, San Marcos
Credit: Source link