Two years ago I met some enjoyable people at the Gun Rights Policy Conference. This was not unusual, nor was the subsequent Facebook friendships that developed. The beauty of social media is that, despite all the pitfalls and complaints that abound, it allows us to communicate easily with people throughout the country, and, in fact, the world. When we feel like “talking” we can express ourselves; when they feel like paying attention and possibly responding, they can do so. We are free from the constraints of time zones and all the business in everyone’s lives.
One of the new people posted “Today I am grateful for…” three things every day. After a little time, a couple others in the group started doing the same. I read each entry, gave it a “like” each time and thought how nice it was. And, one day, I posted my own three gratefuls.
My friend did not create the idea. There are a number of articles and programs about developing gratitude. Most suggest deciding on the things for which one is grateful as a morning exercise. I write mine at night, and they are a kind of diary.
The practice is contagious. I have had many friends comment that they enjoy reading them. Several people have begun writing their own. My goal was not to develop gratitude or even report about it. It just struck me, as it seems to have many others, as a very pleasant thing to do. I particularly like to write them just before I go to bed because it gives me a reason to take time to reflect on the day. I find that calming. Occasionally, earlier in the day I will write something down in my workbook so I don’t forget it. Things like starting the morning with a goldfinch sitting on the garden fence.
I have only missed a handful of days, and those have been because I did not have access to my computer. I never skip the list if I am having a difficult time, because those are the days I really need to find things for which I am grateful. If you search hard enough, you can always discover something that you appreciate. Even if it is only that the day is over and you can’t do anything more at that moment. Sometimes, the only good thing a day can do is end.
This is a time of year when we focus on family, friends, our lives. In the pursuit of secularization, there are those who change Thanksgiving to “Turkey Day.” It is fun to gather together to feast and, for those who enjoy such things, to watch football. Whatever brings pleasure is good. However, the fourth Thursday of November was established as a day neither to pig-out nor for pigskins. It is a day to give thanks, to be grateful.
It is an awesome thing that I was introduced to the concept of daily expressing my gratitude through the Gun Rights Policy Conference. The two are a summation of what my life means to me.
My life has been altered because of attending GRPC. I met brilliant people, some who became mentors. I became a public speaker and was able to write my own column for a national magazine. I have found life-long friends. I have been involved in the preservation of one of our fundamental human rights.
I was fortunate to have great-grandparents and grandparents who immigrated into the United States, so that I could be born in this land. This providential fact of my birth has given me freedom and opportunity other people in other countries can hardly imagine.
Such freedom and opportunity are largely taken for granted by those of us who have always had them. It is hard for us to think that they could be taken away, and in a very real sense they cannot be. But, they can be given away. They can be traded for a feeling of security. They can be taken from some through the consent of others who do not realize either everyone is free, or no one is. Some of us are aware that they are being eroded, slowly, methodically. Our freedoms are like New England granite that seems impervious, but ever so gradually is worn away by the waters that flow across it. Our enemies are incessant.
We have temporarily won magnificent battles with Heller and McDonald. But our opponents never stop. They are always ready with a new bill, a new assault on our rights, simply awaiting an emotional opportunity to demand infringements on our right to keep and bear arms. They are not content to attack only the Second Amendment, but wage war on the First, the Fourth, and the Fifth. And, the Tenth Amendment is something that neither the government, the media, nor many in the public comprehends at all. “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Today, there are those who would have us believe that all power belongs to the federal government, which grants some privileges to its citizenry.
There is nothing more important to me than my children and grandchildren. I might, as is often claimed, have grown up in a different world, but I want that world for my descendants.
That is why I do whatever I can to restore and protect our human rights, particularly our Second Amendment. Many of my friends also are engaged in this endeavor. It is easy to be with people who agree with our beliefs. Sadly, not all my friends do, but with them I focus on the aspects of our lives that we share, and do what I can to protect their rights as well.
Today I am grateful for: