Christmas, of course, is the big holiday. But, for our family, Thanksgiving is probably our second favorite. The family usually gets together, the food is fantastic, and we are reminded to count our blessings. Of course, Christmas has great traditions like the Christmas Eve church service, while our Thanksgiving traditions are simpler – we just stuff ourselves, watch football, spend time with the family, and breed cows.
I know we should be grateful throughout the year, and we try to be thankful on a daily basis. Intellectually we know how lucky we are to live in this country and to enjoy all the blessings given to us. Yet, with all the activities of day-to-day life, we tend to forget just how fortunate we are.
It’s a special blessing to work with cows and the land on a daily basis. I’m a huge believer in having big aspirations and dreams. In fact, it truly seems almost immoral to me to be happy with the status quo. After all, “to those who have been given much, much is expected.”
I understand that we have a purpose for our lives and a responsibility to use the talents and opportunities that God has given us. That means we’re supposed to constantly strive and reach higher. And I’ve probably been guilty of letting those desires for the future translate into dissatisfaction about the present. I know it’s not merely about the destination, but also about enjoying the journey.
I love Thanksgiving because it forces me to remind myself not only how lucky I am, but also about what is truly important. Certainly, I’m thankful for all we have materially, but it truly is family and friends that are the most important.
The greatest achievements aren’t about individual recognition or accomplishments, but helping others. It’s easy for me to be an extremely selfish person; Thanksgiving always reminds me of one of the most difficult things to internalize and embrace, despite seeing it every day – that you receive more by giving more of yourself.
I wish I could see your Thanksgiving table through your eyes and celebrate all those blessings. I know that when I sit down, I won’t see the drought-ravaged pastures of my part of Colorado, the bills, or the mile-long to-do list sitting back on my desk. I’ll see a beautiful wife who is a tremendous mom, a woman who fought and survived breast cancer this year. I will see three kids who make me so proud that I sometimes feel guilty.
I’ll think of the friends driving hundreds of miles to help us artificially inseminate cows this year because I’m unable to do it. And, I’ll think of the soldiers in far-off lands keeping us safe, and all their compatriots in uniform who have served before them.
Mostly, though, I will be hit with the realization that I don’t deserve all this. Truth be known, I fail God on a daily basis, and my family and friends far more often than I’d like to admit. Still, I’m amazed that despite my failings, they’ve never failed me.
I hope that all of you, all our customers, all our friends and your families who sat down for the Thanksgiving remembrance will somehow know how thankful we are of them. And I pray this Thanksgiving will remind us all of our blessings as well as our responsibilities, and allow us to refocus on the correct destination, while remembering to enjoy the journey.
I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving!