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So Much to Thank For

It’s 2022 and I have so much to thank for.

While I cannot refrain from thinking about the possibility of people I know dying of Covid-19, I cannot avoid making a conscious effort to dwell on the positive things that have happened in my life’s journey through all these years.

I am thankful that I was a teen-ager during the ‘60s. The Vietnam War, the civil rights protest movement, the “flower people” and other manifestations of anti-establishment actions have helped me understand and appreciate the importance of social awareness and being critical of established social norms. Later through my involvement in the movement for social change in the early ‘70s and ‘80s, I realized that no government is perfect. We always get the government that we deserve,

And how can I not be thankful to the Beach Boys, The Dave Clark Five, The Cascades, Peter, Paul and Mary, and The Beatles, to mention a few of my favorite bands? Their music has a unique way of touching the soul, never before experienced by a whole generation. Their message of love, social justice, friendship, harmony with nature, and peace is timeless.

Throughout my childhood I was surrounded with good people, good teachers, good parents, and a loving nanny who was like a mother to me.

I am thankful for my grade school teachers who patiently taught me how to read and write.

I am thankful for my high school classmates whose friendship remains years after graduation.

I am thankful for my parents whose constant reminder that we study hard proved very useful. I will also never forget their weekly admonition to do good to people.

I am also grateful to have been raised in a culture where limited corporal punishment is allowed and where children don’t question their parents. Under such conditions, I’ve learned to value discipline and respect authority.

When I celebrated my 50th birthday, I received a birthday card from one of my cousins. It had a quotation that gave the fifty years of my life a different perspective. It reads: “Every fifty year old knows that the past years have been just a drop in the bucket of time and the spirit, not the body, is what endures.”

Spirit? Yes, what endured was the spirit of the ‘60s and the ‘70s; listening to a mother’s bedtime stories; learning how to pray; playing the piano in front of relatives; dancing through the night; hanging out with friends; organizing the marginalized; looking forward to building a family; going to Mass on Sundays; and exploring the unknown with fear yet full of hope. All this captured the zeitgeist of the years I was growing up.

It is the spirit behind these events that binds and gives meaning to my life for the past years. Although every story is different, we all share a common impulse to examine our past and look at how our personal story has influenced our lives.

As I age, I’ve realized that the past will always remain the binding thread in one’s life.


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