It is an early Monday morning in Fort McMurray, and I am watching as the sun rises. It isn't a regular Monday, though, as it is a holiday, one devoted to the concept of turkey and potatoes and pumpkin pie - wait, it isn't really a holiday about food, although after supper last night at a dear friend's home I am still in a bit of a food coma. Today is really all about giving thanks for all we enjoy in this country - and here in Fort McMurray we have a great deal to be grateful for.
I think at times we forget how truly fortunate we are. We become so entangled in our problems and issues, like traffic and inadequate infrastructure, that we forget that we enjoy a standard of life that is unknown in many parts of this world. While we "struggle" with empty shelves at local grocery stores individuals in other countries still watch their children die of hunger. While we bemoan long waits at doctor's offices some in other countries die from diseases we prevent with simple vaccinations. While we grow angry at traffic delays some in other countries die because no one in their village can transport them to a hospital for the simple care that may save their lives. I don't mean to sound depressing here, but I think it is vitally important for us to recognize one stone cold hard fact - we are lucky as hell to be Canadian, and luckier still to live in this community.
Most of us lead lives others can only imagine in this world. We have automobiles and motorized toys, warm houses and plenty of clothing, and fridges and cupboards full of food. We have pets that enjoy a standard of living above what some of our fellow humans on this planet experience. We have every opportunity, every potential, and every chance to make our lives better.
Do we struggle? Oh yes, on occasion life isn't easy even here in the first world, and we deal with issues and problems - but I think we often are neglectful about stopping to express our gratitude for the fact that our issues and problems pale in comparison to those faced by far too many. I think we can get so wrapped up in our little microcosmic world that we forget the macrocosm, and we forget to express our gratitude. Today I want to take this opportunity to list my gratitude, and I hope you will do the same - because we all have so very much to be grateful for.
I am grateful for:
- a community that gives from the heart, and that cares about all those in need
- the right to exercise my democratic right and vote, a right others in this world still fight for and die to achieve
- "friends that have become family", as often happens in this place where so many of us are far from those related to us by blood (and so we create families with each other)
- a community that has given me the opportunity to explore my potential through writing, and the support of so many who have encouraged me
- a chance to grow into a new career in an organization that fills me with pride, and has given me a team of co-workers who make me proud to be among them every day
- a new home and neighbourhood, one filled with the very people who make this community what it is
- social profit organizations who think I am helping them but who are really helping me by enhancing my understanding of the needs of others, and increasing my compassion
- an educational system that is teaching the Intrepid Junior Blogger to not only be a good student, but to be a good citizen, and educators who share their passion for learning with her
- medical care that is world class, regardless of the wait times
- a community that supports our citizens as they embark on new adventures, new journeys, and new ideas
- an industry that provides employment and opportunity for those who come to find it, from this country and far beyond our borders
- a natural beauty that is often underestimated or overlooked but that surrounds us every day
- a place that provides endless thought-provoking ideas for exploration
- a region that encompasses so many different communities and groups of people, and gives me the opportunity to explore them as a person, and as a writer
- all those who read this blog and continue to encourage me, and who seem to find some value in what I do
- the Intrepid Junior Blogger, who is the reason for everything I do, and who will one day inherit the world I am helping to create, a reality that directs my every act
Fort McMurray -
I am thankful for all of you!