Thursday, November 24, 2005

Fielder’s Choice
By Barry Burleson


Friday night after the Holly High football playoff game, I stopped by the sleepover in front of City Hall. It was a cold night. I bundled up for the ball game, and my toes almost froze. The barrels of fire at the sleepover made for some welcome warmth.

The sleepover was in observance of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. “One Night Without A Home” was hosted by the Marshall County Community Development Corporation. Concerned citizens from our own community were camping out by the fire with quilts and sleeping bags, letting people know that homelessness does exist right here in our own community.

The United States is the richest country in the world, but each year 33 million Americans live with the daily reality of hunger.

It’s always eye-opening to go to the bigger cities in our country and see people living on the streets, begging for money. That happens right here at home, too, just not of the same magnitude.

Thursday is my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving. We should all be thankful, not just on the fourth Thursday of November, but throughout the year for all the blessings we enjoy.

First and foremost, that includes our homes and our families.

I never remember missing a meal. I can’t even remember missing a couple of snacks a day. Now I’m at the point where I actually need to skip a few meals and snacks.

I recall having too many clothes, some I would never wear or wear a few times before storing in the bottom of the drawer.

I’ve always been warm inside my home in the winter months. I’ve always had air conditioning in the summer months to keep cool.

Other people, even some right around us, don’t have those conveniences.

Growing up, I had everything I needed, many things I didn’t need and more. That holds true for my own children today, too.

Of utmost importance at Thanksgiving and each day is helping those in need. Sunday night, some members of our church packed up some boxes of food for distribution to several needy families in the county. We conclude a food drive each year at this time for a children’s home.

Churches throughout our area are doing similar good deeds.

Perhaps there’s someone you and I can help individually, too.

We get busy in our own world, including things that really aren’t high priority, and we tend to forget our fellow man. A big part of our mission on earth is helping others.

This lesson is for me, too. I need it, probably more than most.

We also often take our own immediate family members for granted. Tell them those magic words - “I love you and I appreciate you” – and tell them daily.

The day after Thanksgiving this year, November 25, is my 16th wedding anniversary. That always brings extra meaning and memories to this special holiday.

It’s hard to believe it’s been 16 years. It seems like yesterday.

I’ll never forget that wedding day back in 1989, when I was the most nervous I’ve ever been in my life. I was more nervous than the time I was on the free throw line in the final seconds trying to win a high school basketball game.

Finally saying “I do” while tightly holding Pam’s hand was both a huge relief but more importantly, a great blessing.

Count your blessings this week and every week. Write them down if you need to. List them. That will perhaps help you realize just how blessed you are.

“It’s not what we keep but what we share; not what we have but what we spare; not what we clasp but what we lose; not what we hide but what we use.

“A vessel He will make of you; if small or great, ‘twill surely do; great joy and peace will always fill; the one who’s yielded to His will.”
A Useful Vessel, Author Unknown.

Happy Thanksgiving, from the Burleson family to your family!

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