Knowing that I would be finishing my Thanksgiving work week with a grueling hearing in a dreadful and difficult case, I decided to take today off and make it a four-day weekend. That gives me time to sit in my big chair and reflect on the many things I have to be thankful for.
- I am thankful to have a home. I have a beautiful little house, currently pervaded on this freezing day by the smell of hazelnut coffee, where I can be warm and comfortable, and take refuge from the harshness of the world. I am thankful for the patronage of St. Joseph, by whose breakneck-speed intercession I acquired this house, that has everything I wanted in a house, plus some extra things that fulfill desires I didn’t know I had.
- I am thankful for my car, which I acquired after my old car was totaled. I am even thankful for the collision by which I lost the old car on the very day I closed on the house, just as I was musing on how I was going to be able to keep nursing that old car. The collision was a surgical strike by God, in which He took out of my life something I needed rid of but would not have gotten rid of on my own, and replaced it with something much better.
- I am thankful for my job. It is very high-stress and often nerve-wracking, but it is also very rewarding in many ways. I get to concentrate on practicing law without worrying about the business side of running a practice. I work with good people in an atmosphere of collegiality and comradeship (yes, I am reclaiming that word from the communists). We work hard and take a lot of hard knocks, but we also have a lot of laughs.
- I am thankful for my friends. True friends are rare, but I have been fortunate to find some. These are people who have been there for me and not disappeared during hard times, or times when I myself have been at my least lovable or attractive.
- I am thankful to have been born and to live in the United States of America. It has been rightly said that merely to be born in America is to win at life’s lottery. We have many serious problems in this country, including the degradation of our popular culture, the plague of abortion, the slithering infiltration of socialism, and our national besetting sin of avarice. Yet in America I am free to lead an orderly life, go about my business, worship my God and strive for excellence. In a world where millions live in slavery and destitution, I have access in America to everything I need, from eyeglasses to air conditioning, and a lot of things that I don’t strictly require to survive but that do add to my happiness.
- I am thankful to be a citizen of the Catholic Church. My parents were not devout Catholics — my father was not even a Catholic until I was 7 or 8 — but they made sure I was baptized and received the other Sacraments. It was my father particularly who insisted that I receive a Catholic education, even though he was not Catholic and never cared much for the Catholic Church even after he entered it. I had a very difficult relationship with my father, but this was a gift from him that I cannot forget. The Catholic Church herself is wracked with crisis, perhaps the worst in her history, and her hierarchy is infested with perverts and charlatans. But there is no other refuge, and no other salvation. It makes no sense to jump off the ship, just because we are in the middle of a typhoon and the guys on the bridge are busy having a drunken orgy.
- I am thankful to be alive, and to have so far been blessed with good health. I have known people who died, despite wanting very much to live, because they were too ill to go on living; and I have known healthy people who threw away their lives because they thought death was a release from suffering. But we were made for life, not for death, and even our greatest and seemingly most needless sufferings in this life have value when united to the Cross.
- Finally, I am thankful for the disappointments I have had in my life. How many celebrities have been ruined by getting absolutely everything they wanted? How often have I been spared this, because I have been denied things I wanted that would have been bad for me? How many things I have been denied, even things that are good in themselves, that would nevertheless in my hands have become occasions for sin! As I get older, I realize that sometimes the best and most loving answer God could give to my prayers is NO.