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THANKSGIVING AND GRACE: Politics Aside for One Day, At Least

“…that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.” – President Washington

George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving Proclamation on October 3, 1789. 225 years later, Presidents are still thanking God for the blessings we have as Americans. Given the current political climate, it’s hard to remember that we are blessed. But remember we must. Just for one day, I will set aside enmity. I will recognize that for all the headlines blazing with heated rhetoric and vitriol, there is good. Life is, despite angry words in sixty point font, full of joy and wonder and awe.

So this Thanksgiving, I choose to thank God. Not with the words of ghosts, but with my own.

I am thankful.

For the overcooked dinner on my table.

For the sometimes leaking roof over my head.

For the lawn that needs mowing and for the driveway that needs shoveling.

I thank God every single day that I am safe inside these four walls. I have the comfort of good food and of a warm bed. I have clean, running water. A reliable car to put into an overflowing garage. Cringing at the thought of rewiring the house, bemoaning the cost of a bathroom remodel, or grumbling through the third coat of paint in the living room; I am mindful of my fortune.

I am thankful.

For the shooting pain of a Lego against a bare foot at two a.m.

For every exasperated pre-teen eye roll.

For laundry that never ends.

For forgotten homework, diapers, late night feedings, skinned knees, and slammed doors.

I thank God for the gift of motherhood. There are days I thought would never end; where falling into bed is the only thing I want. Days that try my patience, my sobriety, and even my faith. But these are the days I am most grateful for. They are the days that taught me strength comes through tears and grace by counting to ten.

I am thankful.

For being reminded every summer what Red Stag did to me once. (Once!!)

For being called out for acting like a jerk.

For phone calls asking for bail.

For texts that wake me up, favors asked, and money borrowed.

I thank God for the gift of friends. I am grateful to be surrounded by the people that have become family by choice, not birth. We have seen each other through the absolute best and worst times. The joy of a new job and the crushing blows of divorce. We’ve mastered the art of fitting three weeks of gossip into a one hour lunch. We’ve drunk to the memory of friends that have left us behind. Weddings, baptisms, graduations, or just another Friday night; the moments that we’ve truly lived we have lived beside each other.

I am thankful.

For being the only Republican at family dinners.

For sitting at the kids table, even at 37.

For the hysterical, dysfunctional, wonderful, odd, and loud.

I thank God for the gift of my family. I thank God my parents picked me at the ripe old age of eleven to join their family. I am grateful that, for all of the crazy, there remains fierce loyalty. The kind of loyalty that is only felt by the people that have seen you at your worst and love you anyway. They accept your flaws and fill your life with frustration and triumph. And they never ask you to stop bringing up politics at the table.

I am thankful.

I am fortunate to call myself an American daughter. I have the freedom to speak my mind, to live and love in the place I choose, to worship God publicly, to work hard and achieve things others can only dream of.

Tomorrow I will be reminded of lives gone wrong, government gone wild, and people gone off the deep end. But, for today, I am thankful.

Image: http://www.globalawareness101.org/2011/05/george-washington-quote-circa-1797.html

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Pauline Wolak

About the author, Pauline Wolak: Pauline is a proud wife and mother of three. When she isn't being the world's greatest Girl Friday, she is volunteers her time as a school librarian and athletic director. Pauline enjoys football, politics, good beer, and arguing with anyone. She's a devout pro-life Catholic. Pauline believes in the 1st Amendment and uses it on a daily basis, most notably to ambush unsuspecting family members in political debate! You can find her work here at Clash and at redknucklepolitics.com. Follow her on twitter at @MiStateFan. View all articles by Pauline Wolak

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