Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Thanksgiving Gratitude List...

By S. Derrickson Moore
Sun-News reporter
LAS CRUCES — It can be tough to be a Pollyanna if you are in the news business. You know too much.
I try to limit my online and news channel time once I leave the office, but these days, I’m as likely to hear an in-depth discussion of the latest crises in the hot tub at the health club as I am in the newsroom. More likely, in fact. We’re usually so busy dealing with some aspect of the latest dilemma that we don’t have much time to talk about it all.
But maybe we should. From talk show pundits to purveyors of “The Secret,” many have told us that we should ignore and dismiss from our life everything that seems negative and all will be well.
I agree that it’s a good idea to accentuate the positive and be a cosmic cheerleader whenever and wherever possible. But it can be a delicate balance.
There are other maxims that mature and responsible adults should keep in mind: like the ones about not hiding your head in the sand, and, of course, the admonition so dear to conscientious journalists: “Don’t kill the messenger.”
That said, there’s a lot to be thankful about, this Thanksgiving season. It’s a great time of year to sit down and make some lists, with an enlightened attitude of gratitude and some realistic fair and balanced reporting. Here’s a sampling of what’s on my list.
I’m grateful that my family has had a pretty happy, healthy year, and glad I got to spend some wonderful vacation days with some members of the tribe I miss having nearby, like son Ryan, daughter-in-law Shannon and grandson Alexander the great, during a beautiful summer in Idaho. There were some fun surprises, too, like a visit from my long-lost cousin Jim Bernard, who toured the country with his charming wife Deb and perky dog Sheba and, as fate would have it, showed up in both Las Cruces and Coeur d’Alene for fun renuion visits.
I mourn all the wonderful persons, places and things that have left Las Cruces this year, but I’m grateful for the faith and experience that have taught me that nothing good is every truly lost, that for everything we willingly set free, we get something better, sometimes in a different form.
I’m sad that some of my dearest friends have moved away to places like New York and Santa Fe, but grateful that we’re so profoundly bonded and that we can keep in touch with visits, phone calls and e-mail.
I’m even sadder that so many loved ones and relatives of loved ones have passed on to realms beyond cyberspace communication this year, but when I reflect on what good lives they lived and the contributions they made to making this world a better — and far more entertaining and interesting — place, I feel very grateful to have had the chance to spend some quality time with them on the earthly portion of their journeys, and look forward to meeting them all again in the great beyond.
I’m sad that we live, in 2008, in a world that is still at war on so many fronts, that has experienced devastating natural disasters, economic collapse, global warming, worsening ecological problems, record home foreclosures, and such formidible challenges with issues ranging from global violence and homelessness to poverty and health care.
But I am grateful for so many signs that we are finally realizing that we are all in this together, that the entire ocean is affected by a pebble, that we must hang together or we’ll hang separately. That we are all our brother’s keeper... and our sister’s, children’s, neighbors,’ parents’ and grandparents’ keeper, and the keepers and custodians of life on this fragile planet.
And I’m grateful that for all the challenges we face as a world, a nation and a community, by some wonderful milagro, many of us seem to be moving into 2009 with renewed spirit and a sense of hope far stronger than in what many would have considered better times. Somehow, there seems to be a strong and growing sense that we can provide care and education and compassion and a fulfilling future for every soul, that somehow, we still have everything we need to make things work, if only we will.
I hope your own 2008 gratitude lists are long and pray that your prospects, strength and relationships all grow and prosper in 2009. Happy Thanksgiving.
S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at

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