Being thankful for it all

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 3, 2003

Thanksgiving is always a bittersweet time for me. Mixed in with the memories of family get-togethers of 30-plus years

Over the years the transitions in our lives often necessitate changes in our rituals and traditions.

Childhood memories of Thanksgiving include traveling from Highland Home to Greenville to visit my cousins, my grandmother's "Come to Jesus" chocolate pie, Miss Jean's banana pudding, the year my Aunt Daisy nearly ruined my friend's teeth with her selection of corn and of course my immediate family.

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For the last few years, I've had to work on Thanksgiving.

The day after my mom would call me up and give me a recap of what happened after I left.

I always felt like I missed something.

As it turned out, I was missing something, my sister Jill, her husband Trent and my nephews Ethan and Alex.

Holidays without seeing my whole family always made it seem like something was missing, a void you might say.

Not this year, they'll be there, and I will too.

When I worked here several years, I went to pick up my grandmother for Thanksgiving.

Although she lived across town from this office in the nursing home, I never made time to go see her.

I was always on the go, or too busy.

The next time I saw her was the night she died several months later.

The guilt I felt for not making time still reaches up and grabs me.

We debated on having a big family Thanksgiving the next year because it was so soon after her death, but my dad settled it when he said we had to because it was tradition.

We carried on that year and it was a healing experience.

Now, it is seven years later.

This year more than ever I'm reflecting on what I have to be thankful for.

I'm grateful for the way I was raised, and for all the people who have positively influenced my life, both friends and family.

I'm grateful for the opportunity I got to return to my hometown newspaper and for the wonderful people I venture through each day with side-by-side. I'm really grateful for readers like you who make publishing our two weekly editions worthwhile, and for understanding my shortcomings as a person and editor.

I'm thankful that although man might judge and condemn me for my failures and mistakes, my God will forgive and say "what sin?"

I'm also thankful for the freedom that forgiving others brings. And for the teaching and wisdom that others have shared with me. I'm thankful for the love and acceptance of my family,

that transcends the beginnings and endings of relationships.

I'm thankful for the blessings of life-long friendships and the support and encouragement that they offer.

I'm thankful for material and physical blessings.

I'm thankful that for every fearful, selfish person in the world, there are two more who look for ways to make things better for others.

But most of all, in a world where so many seem to have lost hope, I am grateful that we don't have to lose hope. I am grateful that I do not have to succeed in my own power, and that I do not have to fight my battles alone.

May God richly bless you this Thanksgiving, and may you always know your blessings and that you are truly loved.

Jay Thomas is managing editor of the Greenville Advocate and can be reached at 334-383-9302, ext. 136 or via email at