Do You Love Giving Thanks as Much as Ice Cream?
Let me tell you, I love Ice Cream - who doesn't? Give me some Breyers Chocolate Fudge Swirl Ice Cream, on a hot summer night, sitting in my easy chair, relaxing with my wife, the dog by our side, and I am literally in heaven...well not literally but you know what I mean. Make it "ala mode" by putting of scoop of this delicious creamy delight on a hot pie or warm cake and OH MY, what a marvelous indulgence.
I doubt that there are very many of you who don't share in my love of this wonderful treat. Having it "ala mode" brings two wonderful tastes into one blend of paradise. But did you know "ala mode" means more than just adding ice cream? Most dictionaries define it as: "Fashionable; in the current style or fashion. (US) Served with ice cream." This makes me wonder if Thanksgiving is as "fashionable" as it should be and is giving thanks truly the "current style" of our society???
Yes, tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, a day set aside on our calendars to give thanks, but shouldn't giving thanks be "ala mode;" our every day style or fashion? I personally am quite thankful for three basic things, but there are so many more things for which I, and all of you, should be thankful. Those three things, in order are God, my Family, and our country, the United States of America. Many of you likely have these same three at or near the top of your list, but what about our civil servants; Military, Police, Fire, and other Emergency personnel? I venture to say that most of you also include this group of selfless heroes on your list as well.
First for me on this list are our veterans. Forty-one million men and women have served our country in the armed services since its founding in 1776. The United Kingdom has had over 32 million serve since the formation of a formal military in the 1600’s, and the Canadians have had another 16 million serve over the same time period. At this very moment, there are 1.4 million serving in the United States, 200 thousand in the UK, and 100 thousand in Canada.
Exactly two weeks ago we honored our veterans with a special day set aside. A day which signifies the end of what was considered the great world war…the war to end all wars, World War I. We celebrate our veterans on this day; November 11, as it was the day the armistice of that war was signed; on the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month. I personally think every day should be honored and treated as Veterans Day.
We are free, have free choice, speech, voting rights, rights to worship, bear arms, etc. because people just like you and I have decided to step up and risk their lives to protect these freedoms. Some of you feel your contribution to society is just as important as these veterans and civil servants service, and on that point, I don't totally disagree, but there is one key difference. I equate the difference to this point: While I was working at United Airlines, I once heard a mechanic state: "my job is every bit as important as the pilot's job!" While I agree in principle, I do see one significant difference. If the pilot doesn't perform well at his/her job, then the lives of many are at stake, same as the mechanic...BUT...if the pilot fails at his/her job, their own life is also on the line with those many passengers.
So yes, our roles in society are critically important, and yes on the rare occasion, normal citizens lose their lives on their jobs, but these deaths are rare, and not generally likely outcomes, each day when we go to work. But for our civil servants, the potential for death performing their duties, is an unfortunate daily possibility. To date, 1.4 million military service men and women, 25 thousand police officers, two thousand firefighters (340 in the Twin Towers on 9/11) have lost their lives in the USA. The UK has lost nearly an identical number of service men and women; 1.3 million, and Canada has lost over 61 thousand, brave and honorable members of the military. You total these three top democracies and roughly 3 million people have lost their lives defending our countries and our freedoms. For this I am so very thankful, EACH AND EVERY DAY.
Let us not forget, that each of these person's lives were sacrificed to keep all of us free and safe, but in their sacrifice, many children grew up without a loving parent, many parents lost a child, many spouses lost their loved one, and many friends lost dear loved ones and neighbors as well, all to serve you and me!!!
Here is where I challenge our Thanksgiving ala mode or our fashionable-current style of saying thanks. It's easy to thank the top three and our civil servants, but what about our trash collectors, the cashiers, the waiters and waitresses, the paper boys and girls, the janitors, the ticket takers, the concession workers, the bus drivers, the farm workers, the sewer and street workers? These are all critical roles in our lives here in the USA, and across the globe. We are so very fortunate, dare I say spoiled, to have such wonderful people doing these jobs!!! Many of these folks are working at our near minimum wage, a wage that is 23 times higher, on average, than the wages most people earn outside of the USA and the most developed countries. Yet we often take these roles and people for granted in this country - not very fashionable.
Can you imagine your world without these folks? I remember the days when I was given a new battery powered watch as a birthday present, and it was so cool that I didn't have to wind my watch every day or two for it to work and keep time. Well eventually the battery died and instead of rushing out to replace it, I dawned my older winding watch to use until I could buy a new battery. Of course, I was now programmed to use the battery watch and thus kept forgetting to wind the older watch. Boy how irritated I got that I had to take a few seconds every day to actually use my fingers to wind that watch - I admit I had become spoiled.
This, I am afraid, is all too often our current style of relating to these critical roles/jobs. We become so used to these tasks being done by these folks, each and every day, that we put them out of our mind, as things that just naturally occur and that real people aren't really making these things happen - shame on us as this is not a fashion, nor current style, I would like to be associated with. I have a clean trash free home, I get a good and proper service at the right cost when I go to events or buy things, I get served my meals - quality meals compared to most, I read my morning paper, I purchase and prepare quality foods and produce, I don't have sewer or trash lying in the streets and I have many advanced roads and highways to take me wherever I want, whenever I want. For these things we all should be very grateful and we should be thanking these people every day, not just on this holiday - this needs to be our current style, because saying thank you to everyone who helps or supports our way of life, is a fashion we all need to support.
I would be remiss not to thank the three that we all know are critical to our existence. I thank God through him all things flow and are made good. Every day I thank God and his son Jesus for my life and for every life around me and those whom I have had the pleasure to know. There are not enough words to thank God for what he has done for all of us in sending his Son to save us from our sins and give us everlasting life.
I thank all of my family members whom have greatly helped make me who I am. My parents for raising me as an honest, caring, loving, and hard-working person who has always had God and Jesus in the forefront on my life. I can't say I have always lived that Christian life, as I should have, but my parents instilled in me these traits and this knowledge and love of God, which has never wavered.
Finally, I thank the fore-fathers of our country. They had the knowledge, desire, and passion to build and structure a country where we all can live this wonderful free life, where our rights are protected and our freedoms are defended. Say what you will about our faults, because as long as humans exist, there will be faults. But there will also be successes and failures, because our country grants us all the freedom to succeed, and to fail. And by God's grace and the foundation of our country, we all have the right to choose and pursue nearly any chosen path or occupation.
Thanksgiving ala mode should instill in us a desire to live our lives, in a thankful fashion, of being grateful for all those who make our life as blessed as it is in the country. Let's make our/the current style one of appreciation and thanks to all who serve us in so many fashions to help keep us safe, warm, comfortable, and free.
Thank you to all who make our lives so very fortunate and complete, we greatly appreciate your service even though we rarely say so. But let us dedicate ourselves to thank and appreciate you all, every time we see you. I can't image a better or more perfect way to live, each and every day...unless...we can have all this plus a little ice cream on top!