Thanksgiving is the traditional beginning to a holiday season that is often so hectic that we fail to stop long enough to ponder the significance of the events we celebrate.
There is stuffing to be made and pie to be baked. Soon there will be presents to buy and a tree to decorate. Now is as good a time as any to call a time out and contemplate our blessings, which is what Thanksgiving should be all about.
We can be thankful we live in Lawrence, Kansas. Compared to many parts of the nation and even some other parts of the state, Lawrence is a peaceful, prosperous community. Unemployment is relatively low here, compared with other cities. We are not without crime, but we haven't been touched by the kind of random violence that permeates many metropolitan areas. That "quality of life," of which Lawrence and Douglas County are so proud, continues to improve, while the city continues to grow.
As we look around the globe, we can be thankful for changes that have made the world a safer place. The "Doomsday Clock" that appears on the cover of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has been turned back to 11:43 p.m., its furthest point ever from midnight, the bulletin's symbol of impending nuclear war.
The democracy that seemed to break out all over the world two years ago, now is evolving more slowly, but progress is in the right direction toward more freedom.
Unfortunately, freedom in the United States or elsewhere in the world doesn't always mean comfort. Many Americans are unemployed this Thanksgiving and many are unable to provide for their families or themselves. Part of our responsibility as citizens of a democratic society is to help care for others who are less fortunate. In our hometowns, that may mean increasing charitable giving during a time when many people have had to cut back on such donations. In the world, it may mean stretching our resources to help a struggling Soviet Union feed its people while it works toward revamping its economy.
In many ways, these are difficult times. But even in difficult times, there is reason to be thankful for family, for friends, for jobs or even just for food on the table. That's more than many people around the world are able to enjoy.
Thanksgiving and the entire holiday season give us an opportunity to appreciate the joys in our lives. There are many of them. We just need to take the time to look.