Thursday, November 24, 2011


As Americans enter the holiday season, there is a mixture of joy and sadness. Why? Holidays, particularly Thanksgiving and Christmas, evoke nostalgia. 1) We think of past holidays and recall unsatisfying experiences or 2)we mourn who or what we have lost. I have known and still know people stuck in this cycle, like an old fashioned record stuck in a groove, they yearly relive a sad childhood experience or mourn the family member no longer with them, rather than reflect on the joy that could be found in the present.

I am nostalgic about Thanksgiving. Yes, there are some really unhappy holidays in my past, but even in these times I managed to focus on the reasons for the holiday celebrations. Thanksgiving is about focusing on what God has provided. Christmas is about the birth of Jesus. That helped me push my own hurts and disappointments aside. Sometimes going through the motions is what you need to do to get to a better place in your life.

This week I heard a news report that said that people with a thankful, grateful spirit are both more physically and mentally healthy than those who are ungrateful. No doubt they are happier.

This Thanksgiving Holiday let us have a thankful heart. Laugh about the burned marshmallows on the yams. Joke about the jiggling cranberry sauce. Scarf down the dry stuffing and lumpy gravy, but remember to enjoy the moment.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


A short time ago, I was driving along the highway and saw a group of people wearing bright orange vests, collecting trash along the highway. As I approached, I noticed the trash collectors all had their backs to the passing motorists, clearly trying not to be identified. On the back of each vest, in bold black print, were the words: I DRINK AND DRIVE. These people were all working off their crimes. They thought the crimes would be secret, but they were exposed in the light of an autumn morning.

To me, there was something powerful about this sight; people getting the chance to work off their debts and looking to tomorrow with clean slates. Since making amends is part of many 12 step programs, I wondered why it isn't a condition of other non-violent offences.

--But the vests conjured up the memory of Hawthorn's, THE SCARLET LETTER, where people wore the initial of their sins upon the breast of their clothing.

Then I wondered about myself and harm I may have inflicted upon others. What would be embroidered upon my lapel? What would be emblazoned upon the back of my vest? Would the crime be something I could work off or had the harm I had caused be far to deep? Are my sins those of omission or commission?

It is confusing sometimes, trying to make it through this life. After all, there are no real victimless crimes.