As I compile my 2009 list of things I am thankful for this year, I start to realize that my fortune is highlighted by the misfortune of others. Most years atop our list are the same general things to be thankful for; health and food on the table. Though we may have acknowledged these blessings they were still taken for granted. Well, here in 2009 the list is still the same but much more specific and appreciated. Between swine flu and the recession, 2009 has been a year that has threatened our entire nation’s health and ability to put food on the table. If you have been able to avoid the swine flu this year I’m willing to bet you have acknowledged your thankfulness well before the carving of this year’s Thanksgiving turkey. If you happened to catch the good old fashion flu this year I’m willing to bet you were especially thankful to find out that you would only be down a week with no reason to fear for your life.
This year you lived day by day wondering if you would have a job tomorrow. Perhaps you did lose your job but were fortunate enough to get hired somewhere else in an economy with few openings and a larger pool of unemployed applicants. This year our problems have become more real as the threats have loomed around the corner affecting people we all know. This year’s feeling of thanks comes with a side of guilt. Instead of a thoughtful acknowledgement of fortune I feel the sentiment has been reduced to “Thank god it wasn’t me.” For all the guilt, I understand that this is how life is set up. It takes a storm to truly appreciate a sunny day. In a strange way a man will feel more fortunate after surviving a shark attack by out swimming his friend than if there were no shark attack at all.
As bad as things have been they could have gotten worse. Let’s be thankful for the people and procedures that have managed to keep these hard times from being worse. I’m thankful that science has been able to treat illness and that our press and government have kept us alert of what to do and where to go for help. The economy has fallen but we never did crash. Let’s be thankful for a government that is trying to help us. Nothing is perfect but in a world where dictators demand to be treated like deities we happen to be fortunate enough to have a government that is fighting for the people. I’m thankful to be a part of this great country… This leads me back to feeling guilty for everyone who lives in an oppressive country. Well I guess that’s just how it all works.