Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17)
This Thanksgiving will be a bit more sentimental for me than past years. As Dee and I prepare for our wedding, and I prepare to leave New Jersey, I've been reflecting quite a bit upon all the things I have to be thankful for. I'm thankful for all the people that helped me through some of the toughest moments in my life:
1) Broken ankle / full leg cast (August 1993): I remember vividly my mom rushing to the hospital to be by my side, taking time off of work to make me lunch and to take me to the doctor. I remember my dad driving me to Newark for graduate school, walking around the mean streets of Newark during my two hours of classes, and stating "You're my son, where else would I rather be?" I remember my friends stopping by on Friday nights to play chess so that I wouldn't be alone.
2) Missing the 5 year BA/MBA cutoff (1992): I spent one entire winter break at Rutgers studying for the GMATs in order to start grad work my senior year. I needed to score in the top 15%, but I came up woefully short on my first try. I was fully resigned to giving up, but my sister refused to let me do so, and encouraged me to give it one more try. Without that encouragement I never would have succeeded (let alone attempted) that 2nd time.
3) Depression (1992/1996): I remember a friend stopping by one Memorial Day with a platter of food from a picnic I could not bring myself to attend. I remember another friend taking my assignments to a class I could not find the strength to attend. I remember all the words of support from my family and friends who refused to let me give up, fueling me with the encouragement I needed to survive.
I'm thankful as well for all the people who helped make some of the happiest moments of my life:
1) 1st homerun (Little League): I remember hitting my first over-the-fence homerun in what could have been my last Little League at bat had I failed. It was my biggest moment to date, but what made it most special was a friend's dad running out behind the center field fence to get it and presenting it to me with a hug and a kiss.
2) Surprise birthday party (College): I remember my friends throwing me a surprise birthday party, some of whom even came in from far out of state to be there.
3) Meeting Dee (1998): I remember Dee coming into my life just at a time when I needed her most, and being everything and more of what I had always envisioned my wife to be.
I thank you all, but most of all I thank the good Lord who has brought each of you into my life. I wish you all a blessed holiday; may each day of your life be a time of thanksgiving.