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What I’m thankful for this year

By Mike Ruffin As our annual day of Thanksgiving approaches, I thought I’d share some of the things for which I’m thankful this year. 1. I’m thankful for my wife, our children, and our grandchildren. They are the greatest gifts I will receive in this life. 2. I’m thankful for science. We need all the facts we can get. And we need to take them seriously. 3. I’m thankful for leaders who take science seriously. 4. I’m thankful for experts. Some people know more about particular areas than we know. We should listen to them. 5. I’m thankful for leaders who listen to experts. 6. I’m thankful for national leaders who take seriously their oath to ‘support and defend the Constitution of the United States’ rather than other, lesser things. I wish more did. 7. I’m thankful for the 65 percent of eligible voters who voted in person or by mail in this year’s presidential election. I wish the other 35 percent would join us in voting in future elections. 8. I’m thankful for restaurants with outdoor seating. I wish more had it. I hope the day comes soon when I’ll feel safe eating inside a restaurant. 9. I’m thankful for all the freedoms we enjoy as Americans. 10. I’m thankful for some limits being placed on our freedoms. I don’t trust you to handle unlimited freedom. I don’t trust me to either. 11. I’m thankful for unemployment benefits. I haven’t needed them, but some people I love have benefited from them this year. 12. I’m thankful for people who are aware of the divine and holy and who try to cultivate greater awareness and more understanding. I am not thankful for people who think they have the divine and holy figured out. 13. I’m thankful for Martin’s Barbeque Sauce. Here’s a trick I learned from my father, the late great Champ Ruffin: mix a bottle of Martin’s with a bottle of any regular sauce (Kraft or a store brand). Do it and you’ll join me in giving thanks. 14. I’m thankful for my Weber kettle grill. I look forward to using it every weekend. I love sitting with my Good Wife, watching the smoke rise and float away. There are fancier grills, but there are no better ones. 15. I’m thankful for public servants who serve because they really want to serve. 16. I’m thankful for competence. 17. I’m thankful for character. 18. I’m thankful for people who wear masks, who wash their hands, who limit the size of gatherings, who maintain social distance, and who do whatever they can to help limit the spread of COVID-19. In short, I’m thankful for folks who think about other people. 19. I’m thankful for election workers who help us exercise our privilege to vote and who make sure our votes are counted. I am not thankful for the great pressure they must work under these days because of unfounded suspicions cast by some, including many who know better, upon our election processes. 20. I’m thankful that God doesn’t take my suggestions on how to run the world. I’m even more thankful that he doesn’t take some other folks’ suggestions. 21. I’m thankful for those of you who read what I write. I hear from some of you. Some of you agree with me and some of you disagree with me. But I’m grateful for every one of you. 22. I’m thankful 2020 happened. I’m also thankful it’s almost over. 23. I’m thankful that every day is another opportunity to try to be more decent, more caring, more compassionate, and more loving. Those are a few’”just a few’”of the things I’m thankful for this year. 2020 has retaught me (I’ve learned it many times, but I keep forgetting and have to be reminded) the necessity and value of being thankful in all circumstances, even if that means sometimes being thankful despite what’s happening. But I am fortunate, blessed, and privileged to be able to say truthfully that I have a lot more to be thankful because of than despite of. I’d be even more thankful if everybody could say the same. Mike Ruffin is a Barnesville native who lives in Yatesville and works in Macon. His latest book, Praying with Matthew, will be available soon.

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