As one of many Americans this year I have so much to be thankful for.

We have made a new start in our national administration and, while I am cautious as to what the future will hold for us, I believe our President Elect will do his best to help us overcome our current fiscal and moral crisis, help keep the tide turned against increasing fanaticism and terror around the globe, and he will provide strong leadership by maintaining respectful discourse and honesty with the American people, our friends and allies, and those who challenge us.

We are in a time of personal sacrifice and hardship already.  Everyone I know very well has tightened their family budget belt.  Many are working extra hours, seeking re-employment, or doing a lot of fix-up projects to maintain their homes or prepare for possible resale or necessary moves.

We have all taken this election very seriously and we have all had another wake-up call, comparable to the one we had seven years ago.  Many of us have experienced misfortune in our lives and we are inevitably pained as we see the suffering of those who have been uprooted and injured by disaster or personal tragedy here at home and abroad.

No matter our nationality or political brand we are increasingly tuning into the daily changing patterns of hardship and hope around the globe.  We want to protect our planet and find a better way to take our responsible place as world citizens.

The road right now is not an easy one.  We know, based on the experience of previous generations, it never has been.  But we will move forward now and try to mend the wrongs that have been created, protect and defend the bonds of the human family, and maintain and safeguard the vast and rich resources of our planetary island home.

As for me, on this day of thanksgiving and reflection, I have so much to appreciate today:  my marriage of forty-two years;  continued good health; the strong, well-nourished, and spirited lives of our two grown sons and their extended families; good friends and a continued opportunity to serve in my chosen profession.  Our granddaughters have had a wonderful year.  My brother and his wife have finally settled into a home where they can live out their remaining days in safety and financial security, despite having issues of chronic disability in their lives.  They are stepping more lightly and smiling more easily than they were  this time last year.  My eighty-nine year old mother-in-law will be coming next week to stay with us through the New Year.  Her visits are always a joy.  On a sadder note, our twenty year old cat is in a period of declining health and we have had her at the vets lately and are keeping watch, medicating and feeding her around the clock to care for her.  Cocoa has been a mother of two litters and a good companion in our lives.  She is thin and shakey but purrs at our nearness and attention.

We have especially enjoyed the close-up opportunity to watch our grandchildren grow and share with them moments of joy and wonder.  Two weekends ago we were at the Museum of National History encountering sea creatures interacting with us in 3-D on the Imax there.  When the show began it was quite frightening to one of them especially, but with our reassurance and insistance she stayed for a while with her eyes shut, and then as the movie continued she peeped over the seats and shoulders of the folks in front of us to watch the wonders of the deep and returned the plastic glasses to her eyes to fully enfold the scene before her.

Sometimes life is like this.  Overwhelming.  Frightening.  And the enemies we must encounter are more real and as unrelenting as those 3-D sea creatures.   But as Emily was able to regain her composure and press on, so will we all in this year of uncertainty.

We cannot know the road ahead.  We know the provisions have been limited by loss and hardship, but we will press on for the encounter and pray we will safely reach our destination, fully cognizant of the personal sacrifice made by others to protect and help us along our way.

May God continue to protect and bless us all and especially protect our youngest son and his partner as they travel this holiday.

Seeking Spirit