DEAR READERS: Today is Thanksgiving Day, and this is my traditional Thanksgiving column.
Take a few minutes to think about what you have to be thankful for.
How's your health? Not so good? Well, thank God you've lived this long. A lot of people haven't. You're hurting? Thousands -- maybe millions -- are hurting more. (Have you ever visited a veterans hospital? Or a rehabilitation clinic for crippled children?)
If you awakened this morning and were able to hear the birds sing, use your vocal cords to utter human sounds, walk to the breakfast table and read the newspaper, praise the Lord! A lot of people couldn't.
How's your pocketbook? Thin? Well, most of the world is a lot poorer. No pensions. No welfare. No food stamps. No Social Security. In fact, one-third of the people in the world will go to bed hungry tonight.
Are you lonely? The way to have a friend is to be one. If nobody calls you, call someone. Go out of your way to do something nice for somebody. It's a sure cure for the blues.
Are you concerned about your country's future? Hooray! Our system has been saved by such concern -- concern for fair play under the law. Your country may not be a rose garden, but it also is not a patch of weeds.
Freedom rings! Look and listen. You can still worship at the church of your choice, cast a secret ballot, and even criticize your government without fearing a knock on the head or a knock on the door at midnight. And if you want to live under a different system, you are free to go. There are no walls or fences -- nothing to keep you here.
As a final thought, I'll repeat my Thanksgiving prayer; perhaps you will want to use it at your table today:
Oh, heavenly Father,
We thank thee for food and remember the hungry.
We thank thee for friends and remember the friendless.
We thank thee for freedom and remember the enslaved.
May these remembrances stir us to service,
That thy gifts to us may be used for others. Amen.
As an afterthought: Want an instant high? The surest cure for the post-holiday blues is to do something nice for someone. Why not call someone who lives alone and invite him (or her) over for dinner?
Better yet, call and say, "I'm coming to get you, and I'll see that you get home." (Many older people don't drive, and those who do don't like to go out alone after dark.)
Try it. And let me know the results.
P.S. Special greetings to those of you in the military who wrote from remote corners of the world to tell me that you are using my Thanksgiving prayer on this Thanksgiving Day. God bless you!
(What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. Postage is included.)
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