Thanksgiving, that most American of holidays, has recently been called the forgotten holiday. If that is true, circumstances might turn things around this year.
If there is a possible up-side to the current state of the economy, it might be that it gives us a chance to think about how unbelievably our nation has been blessed in all things material.
Amidst these blessings it has been far too easy to take them for granted. In recent years, instead of stopping to be thankful, we seem to have just gone on seeking more. With store racks and shelves filled with choices we expected every one of our whims and fancies to be accommodated.
This year, however, with the looming financial meltdown threatening, we may all be more prone to take time to consider our choices and to give thanks for what we have.
Here, too, is another story that could reinforce feelings of gratitude for many of us on this Thanksgiving Day. A few weeks ago I wrote of a group of area volunteers who were going on a Medical Mission to Haiti.
They made that trip and have now returned. Because of the great interest in their remarkable experiences, they are preparing a presentation which will be open to the public. If it is at all possible, I urge you to attend that event. The exact time and location will soon be announced. Watch for it.
To refresh your memory, Lee Rainboth, young Marcus Artist, volunteers with HAPI (Haitian Artisans for Peace International) in the mountain city of Mizak. The Medical Clinic in that city is an outreach of HAPI. The group of eleven from this area joined volunteers from other parts of the US for a total of thirty individuals who made the trip.
Haiti, by the way, is the most impoverished nation in the Western Hemisphere and the northern mountain area, where Mizak is located, is the poorest part of Haiti. There are no doctors in the region, not even a nurse. The Clinic had two small rooms in which to set up. One room was used as a triage area where they evaluated the needs of the people who flocked in. The other smaller room was used for their procedures.
The predominant impression left by this life-changing experience was the incredible gratitude on the part of all of the natives to whom they were able to minister.
Lacking so much of what we consider necessities, these people, "beautiful, both inside and out" as one participant put it, were all eager, above all else, to express their thankfulness. Even when there was no translator present, their gestures and facial expressions made these feelings abundantly clear.
Remember this as November 27 approaches. Think of the people in Haiti and around the world who have so little. Wherever you are, remember to sincerely express your gratitude for the many blessings from which you have benefited. Your remembering will do much to keep Thanksgiving Day from becoming the Forgotten Holiday.