This Thanksgiving I have more reasons than I can count to be thankful. I try to live triumphantly every day, but this year has been filled with a tad more adventure and activity than I would’ve ordered in a given year. As November began, I warned that I would be celebrating my birthday all month and that is still my intention though my official 65th birthday has come and gone.

For the first 50 or so years I took for granted that I’d have my birthday—then my high school classmates and younger folks started dying and I realized that I should cherish each day—if I got the chance to experience it. This year I’ve been hospitalized three times and after four days last week reading the signs on the ceiling at St. Frances Hospital, I rejoiced to see another birthday.

In the midst of chaos, loss, and confusion, as we are surrounded by fears and uncertainty about where and what is safe, let’s remember to be thankful in spite of—not because of. My favorite part of the CBS Evening News on Fridays is the segment Steve Hartmann does on the road. Last week he talked to a man who said he was thankful for 63 amazing Thanksgiving Days so why in the world would he complain about one that may not be as good? That was a *”drop the mic” moment if I’ve ever seen one.

This year on the top of my Thankful list again is family and friends. When I was growing up my mother often said she’d rather have friends than great riches—I know now she meant if you have friends, you have great riches a plenty. I have called on my family and friends to pray for all kinds of concerns and they keep being there through thick and thin.

Whether it’s a phone call answering questions I haven’t asked, food being delivered, or someone who remembers I like sugar wafers, I am so blessed. As COVID-19 continues to rip our families and networks apart, it is critical to let your loved ones know how much they mean.

For every story about long food lines and families being evicted, there is one about the valiant effort being made by doctors, nurses, technicians, and funeral directors who are working themselves past exhaustion to serve. Much of the gruesome work that must be done is taking a severe emotional toll on these workers and their families. Let us pray for one another and be more sensitive to our neighbors and friends—wherever they may be.

I am especially thankful that every day we learn more about being and keeping ourselves and our families safe and well. Many of the measures that must be taken are unpopular and some may even be uncomfortable, but we can do this. We’ve faced tough times before and we will again.

Even if your glasses fog up when you wear your mask, please try to protect yourself and others by wearing one. Support small businesses as much as possible but stay home if you can and social distance if you can’t. Together we can be thankful for our amazing world and do our part to make it better.

Oh, by the way: I am thankful for everyone who spent weeks making sure each Election 2020 vote was counted. Some of this work was electronic but much of it looked pretty monotonous but they gave it 110 percent. I am grateful.

*”Drop the microphone,” according to www.wikipedia.com, is the gesture of intentionally dropping one’s microphone at the end of a performance or speech to signal triumph.

What are you thankful for every day? I am all ears at #drbondhopson on Twitter and Facebook.

Looking for inspiration, empowerment, uplift, straight talk, an encouraging word to brighten your day? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, educator, inspirational speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more. Now listen to her new podcast, “Three Stores, Two Cotton Gins, One Remarkable Life: The Journey from There To Here,” and meet her favorite family and friends as they share laughter and heartwarming life lessons. Look for it on this page or wherever you get your favorite podcasts.

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