Giving Thanks

It’s that time of year again to take inventory of what we’re thankful for. The older I get the more I realize that celebrating blessings is something we ought to do every day. The following are a few that are at the forefront for me this holiday season:

I’m thankful for my family – the love and support we’ve shared with one another, but also forwhat they took time to teach me. Both by example as well as what felt like boring lectures at the time, my parents, grandparents and numerous others helped me realize early on it’s relationships that sustain us. It’s not “stuff” but the number of others we have in our life to share stuff with. Money, for example, can buy lifestyles but that’s not the same as someone to hold when you’re dying of cancer, or to love and grieve with. I appreciate the material goods I have but having people to share them with is what makes life worthwhile.

I’m thankful for my friends. I’ve always had good friends and continue to have friendships that are as special and meaningful as any I’ve ever known. Friends who will be there, regardless of the miles they might have to travel, friends who will listen and share, support and encourage and whose trust in me to do the same is something I deeply value and respect.

I’m grateful for my strengths and challenges. I know you’re saying no way, why would I be thankful for challenges. Truth is, I sometimes have to remind myself to be, but I’ve always lived a passion to try and build on strengths and overcome adversities. At the end of the day, it’s adversities that give us the opportunity to be a better man. In fact, adversities introduce a man to himself and developing qualities to resolve them builds character. I’ve never been a passive observer of life; I tend to live it as completely as I can. Although that has sometimes gotten me in trouble, it’s mostly left me with very few regrets or “what if” questions to ponder. I’m not afraid to fail or succeed and it’s that same sort of confidence I try to model for my son: to never let a fear of failure cripple your willingness to try.

I’m thankful for my faith. My life has been filled with twists and turns. I have much to be thankful for, but most of it has come at a cost. I’ve come to understand that it’s faith in a Savior that keeps me focused and provides the kind of peace, hope and perspective required to stay steadfast in weathering storms that might otherwise influence a man, particularly one trying to be a parent in a divorce or never married dynamic, to take a different course.

Finally, I’m thankful to be my little boy’s dad. My life is good and most days it makes sense, but being my son’s dad is the only part that makes sense to me every day. D.J. has enriched my life and provided me a purpose and perspective unlike anything else ever has. All these things I’ve noted being thankful for have helped to shape who I am, but nothing has given me more pleasure, provided more opportunity for accountability or a reason to simply pause and give thanks than fatherhood.

I’m a strong man. At times I can be determined; some call it stubborn. At other times I can be impatient and like others, get caught up in trying to get things done that are not as important as we make them. But all it takes to stop me in my tracks and bring me back to what really matters is four words – “I love you daddy.” I love him, too, He’s the reason I write these posts and my inspiration to be the best man, son, friend and dad I can.

How about you – what are you thankful for? What do you appreciate and value? Leave a comment and let us know!