Happy Thanksgiving

In this season of Thanksgiving, I’m pausing to consider and appreciate some parts of life that tend to fly under the radar. Without question, I go into this holiday season with great appreciation for family, friends, and the nation we call home. But in some ways, those blessings are easy to count and acknowledge. Today, my thoughts turn to the less obvious because it’s often so easy to overlook in our daily routines.

It started this morning with a drink of water. In communities worldwide, including our own country, people lack access to clean water in their homes. I can’t begin to fathom the work and the worry that families deal with when they lack access to safe drinking water. But through the efforts of organizations like DigDeep, families in some of the most rural areas in the world are gaining access to running water. It’s incredible to hear the stories and see the difference it makes for people to have water in their homes.

The next one may surprise you a bit. I’m incredibly grateful for weather forecasts. While we may complain when it rains after a forecast for sunny days, I appreciate having access to this information. It makes a difference to know the odds of hitting a bad snowstorm on the road between here and Boise from January to March. Ultimately, improved forecasting saves lives. The deadly category 4 hurricane that hit Galveston in 1900 killed tens of thousands, in large part because residents had no warning. Today, most coastal communities receive critical information days in advance that helps reduce the risk of injury and death.

My list could go on for a bit, but the last item I’ll share with you is one I believe we can all appreciate. It’s our human capacity to have faith. Many of us share a spiritual and religious faith that serves as a foundation for how we see ourselves and the world. But faith isn’t limited to the divine. Our ability to believe in each other and something bigger than ourselves represents a gift that makes many other things possible.

We live during a time when the bad news appears to drown out the good. We question our ability to get along with each other as our disagreements become louder and angrier. A few even wonder if there’s an expiration date on our American Experiment. While I cannot claim perpetual or even consistent optimism, I believe we’re a people and a nation capable of great and good things. My faith tells me that, and I’m grateful for the hope it provides despite everything else.

As you gather with family and friends this year, I encourage you to pause for a moment or two to consider how the less obvious things make your life richer and more complete. What makes your day just a bit better than it might otherwise be? What gives you hope for the future? I wish you and yours all the best as you celebrate this season of Thanksgiving.

This column originally appeared in the Post Register.