Be thankful for hope, if not for the status quo

Wednesday, November 26, 2008 | 10:00 a.m. CST; updated 10:35 a.m. CST, Wednesday, February 4, 2009

For the life of me, I cannot think of one reason to be thankful for 2008.  

Well … maybe it is the children in my neighborhood, their laughter and play. And for my granddaughters and grandnephew who explore the world and join me for breakfast on a weekend morning. We discuss school and planets and bugs and cousins. I know, listening to them, that our future will be in their good hands.

Maybe it is my belief that life is not static, that things change. That human nature does, with only a rare exception, lean toward good. That streams resurrect, and the air will self-filter. I know we now understand we are the stewards of this planet and are working to correct past wrongs.

Maybe it is my wonder of the universe, the new planets discovered, solar systems photographed and water found on Mars. I know that we, the citizens of this small green-blue planet, may not be the only life among the billions and billions of stars.

Maybe it is my watching the morning sunrise and listening to the planet wake up.  Watching the horizon glow in the blues and reds before the sun breaks the plane of the horizon. I know that a new day will rise tomorrow, and we can do better.

Maybe it is my belief that wars do end, that peace is attainable, and, under the skin, we are all brothers and sisters. I know that race, religion, creed and all the rest means little, and our humanity is all that is.

Maybe it is the sounds and sights of nature — the geese overhead in the fall, the trees spawning leaves in the spring, the exuberance of new life in the summer and the quiet of the winter. I know Emerson and Thoreau had the right idea, and we need to commune with our surroundings and seek their forgiveness.

Maybe it is the sounds of music, of the wind in the trees on a warm summer eve or songs of joy played in a concert hall by a 110-person ensemble. Or inside a church or synagogue or mosque as the religious leaders chant and sing songs of praise and wonder. Or the sound of a single string plucked, sustaining its own life. I know that our ability to create good and beauty is instilled deep in us all.

I am also angry that we are at war. That man-made pollution is killing our waters and fouling the air. That a few misguided people have created havoc with the economy, and our financial future may be in doubt. That war covers the planet, and hate seems to prevail. Yet I know Man has the capacity to right the wrong, make peace and not war — that our future holds greatness beyond our imagination.

I ask that you spend some time and find your own Walden Pond and watch nature as the planet travels its annual path. Find a park, and listen to the children, their unfettered imagination and capacity to laugh. Find your lover and relive the joy of you first discovery. Find a place of perfect peace, and visit once in a while to remember what tranquility is truly like.

Personally, I am most thankful that I can do something about war and pollution, the economy and the troubles of our daily life. I may not be able to affect the entire planet, but I know I can join others who share my beliefs and wants — that I can give of my time and financial support so that the horrors of the early 21st century may be extinct in the 22nd. I know that my single voice, my single action may not be able to move the planet, but like Gandhi, I can certainly try.

Peace — shalom — salam.  May you have a truly grateful holiday season.

David Rosman is a business and political communications consultant, professional speaker and instructor at Columbia College. He welcomes your comments at

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Robert craig November 26, 2008 | 12:57 p.m.

How about the fact that we haven't had a terrorist attack on our soil since 2001?! What about being thankful for the courageous soldiers ensuring we sleep safely every night?! Seems like I have plenty for which to be thankful.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking November 27, 2008 | 3:16 a.m.

Peace is attainable? Good luck with that. Peace is great, but historically has been the exception rather then the rule.

Relative to most of the world, we have great air and water. We've made tremendous strides in cleaning up the sir in our major cities since the 50s and 60s, but all we seem to be able to do is complain about it.

Some more attention to all of our carbon footprints may be a good idea, but that isn't happening very fast, on either side of the political equation. Personal action will get this done faster then waiting for industry and government to do it.

I'm thankful to live now, in an age of comfort and safety seen by few humans.


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