The following piece was first published in the Cincinnati Enquirer way back in November of 2004. I like to keep it close at hand whenever I feel myself losing my appreciation for all that I have. Maybe you will gain a bit more appreciation yourself after reading it.

A Reality Thanksgiving

In this season of giving thanks, it occurred to me that most of what I regularly whine about is actually a blessing in disguise. See if you agree.

First and foremost, I am thankful to those service members who gave their service and their lives so that we could live in such a free and luxurious country. Whenever I am forced to choose between a Ford or a Honda, vacationing in this country or abroad, and berating the White House or Congress (or both), I thank these soldiers of yesterday.

I’m thankful for crazy politicians, for it reminds me that we live in a country that allows debate of all topics, no matter how outrageous. I’m thankful for my taxes, for at least I earn enough to be required to pay taxes, some of which actually benefits me, but especially those less fortunate.

I’m thankful for the garbage spewed out by the many news outlets, for it reminds me that I live in a country that allows unlimited venues for receiving news and information, no matter how frivolous.

I’m thankful for daily traffic jams and idiot drivers, for it reminds me that I can afford a reliable car for private transportation. I’m thankful for hectic little league schedules, for it reminds me that I have perfectly healthy kids who can, and love to, participate in sports.

I’m thankful when my two children pick fights with each other because I know many couples cannot have children at all. I’m also thankful that my children ask me to buy them everything under the sun. This reminds me that we were lucky enough to be born in the U.S.A., where we have limitless goods and services at our fingertips.

I’m thankful for all the things I dislike about my current and past jobs, for at least I am capable of obtaining and holding a job, and able to put in an honest day’s work.

I’m thankful to every busboy, delivery person, food server, fast food worker, nameless office worker, teacher, and manual laborer. Any honest work is admirable work. And because I have at some time held each of these jobs, I know their ups and downs. Above all, these many occupations remind me that our country provides endless job opportunities for those willing to work.

Yes, I am thankful for my country more than anything. The U.S.A. has afforded me ever-improving job and income levels, free choice of religion, and excellent educational resources. My country has allowed me to acquire more jobs, education, and just plain old “stuff” than I probably deserve. Tell me, what other nation can provide all of this?

And this is available to any schmuck who wants it. One need only enough sense to grab it.

If we would only stop complaining about life’s little irritants and conduct a personal reality check, we would realize how truly blessed we are.