somehow this year is different. i'm not exactly sure why. but i've been thinking about thanksgiving and the time of year and exactly what it means to me. i've been thinking of the things in my life, the things not in my life and the people who have crossed my path along the way. the homeless weigh heavy on me. not because they are homeless but because they are human beings. the children concern me, not because they are children, but because they won't be children long and we will once again have indoctrinated another generation into the meaning of homelessness and all the hardships and pain that comes with it. the people who strive unselfishly to help the homeless concern me, not because i'm afraid they will cease to help but because it can be emotionally draining to be around the homeless and poor and realize the stories and faces and souls behind them. i'm worried about myself, not because i'm afraid, but because i know and have experienced things that perhaps i should never have.
all of these things led to me to the question...what am i thankful for? what in my life makes me feel gracious and humble? what makes me take pause and just breathe and know that i've been blessed?
it's love. three times in my life i've been blessed with the gift of unconditional love. my mother loved me totally and unconditionally. i didn't have to do or be anyone special. i only had to be her son. her love was unyielding and displayed itself every day of her life. it was a love that only a mother could have for her son. my mother was born in a different time and in a different world. it wasn't so tolerant then. but she taught me that respect to all people from all walks of life was a basic principle of life. my daughter loved me from the moment she was born. i could feel it. it manifested itself daily in our interaction. i only had to be her father to be the recipient of the kind of love that every dad should be lucky enough to feel and know. it was a trusting, pure sort of love that only a child can give. she taught me the innoncence of a child and the love of that innocence to all people with no preconceived notions or prejudices. there was a woman who loved me unconditionally and that is rare. she loved me for who i was and who i wasn't. she loved me even when i didn't realize it. she taught me the value of the sort of love that exists without ever speaking about it.
for these three women i am grateful not only for loving me, but for teaching me what love is and what love isn't. each one had a profound impact on my life that they will never be aware of. it is because of these women that i can love and feel compassion. it is because of these women that i harbor the concern for and the willingness to help the homeless. it is largely because of these women that, good or bad, i am who i am today. to each one of you....thank you. i am truly grateful. i hope someone out there feels that somehow i have loved them unconditionally and i have made them feel the way these three women have made me feel.
see you around town