Soul Serenade - Sly & the Family StoneIt is very easy to become discouraged these days. There is war and terrorism overseas, and a level of political rancor in this country unseen in my lifetime. Some people are still feeling the effects of the economic crash of 2008. No one could be blamed for feeling overwhelmed. But there is a way to, if not fully overcome the gathering darkness, at least cope with it. That solution comes in the form of three simple, corny, cliche words … count your blessings.

Today is Thanksgiving, and I am going to use the occasion to reflect on how thankful I am. I have a good woman who loves me, although I’ll never know why. Together we rescued a dog earlier this year, and he adds great joy to our lives. We named him Rufus in celebration of Rufus Thomas, and Chaka Khan’s great band. We have a nice home, and food on the table. We have friends that we can count on in good times and bad.

I lost my mom earlier this year, so this is the first Thanksgiving that she has been gone. But the truth is, she’s always here, standing right beside me, and I still feel her powerful love every day. It’s yet another reason to be thankful.

For all of these reasons, and many more, I am thankful. And yet there are so many people out there who are not as fortunate. I try my best to help, but I know it’s not enough. My Thanksgiving resolution this year is to do more for those who need our help, whether they be veterans who have given so much for this country, people living on the streets because they have lost their homes, or refugees from war-torn lands. I hope you’ll join me in this effort.

We lost Cynthia Robinson this week, co-founder of Sly & the Family Stone, and the person who held it all together when Sly was falling apart. We are thankful for her strength, her talent, and her beauty, and fortunate to have had her music in our lives. Rest in peace Cynthia.

Finally, I would like to offer these words of hope from the great writer Frederick Buechner on this Thanksgiving Day.

Here is the world.
Beautiful and terrible things will happen.
Don’t be afraid.

I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving surrounded by the love and warmth of family and friends.