This week, as I sat contemplating my annual Thanksgiving message—and wondering, due to lack of inspiration, how I might weasel out of it—something remarkable occurred. I received an email. Then I received a phone call. Then I received another email. All from different people; all with the same general theme: "I really hope you send your note this year; my Thanksgiving won't be the same without it." For someone who's well aware of my poorly developed keeping-in-touch gene, this was truly humbling. And it got me to thinking about one of my favorite quotes:
"To know that just one life has breathed easier because you have lived--that is to know success."
I've always loved this quote. This year in particular, however—for so many different reasons—it seems to resonate especially loudly, reminding me that amid the furor and sometimes sheer unfairness of daily life, each of us really does make a difference. There are many examples I could use—like my friends Sarah and Jeff, both of whom suffered a common and devastating loss this past summer; both of whom persevered in the face of the pain, making a difference just by being there for each other, for their families, and most of all, for their sister and wife, respectively. Or, like members of my immediate and extended family, who stepped up to the plate during my 88-year-young grandmother's surgery—making a difference by scheduling doctor's appointments, shopping for groceries, and honoring her wishes to remain independent. And most importantly, like my unsung hero and partner Rob, who dealt quietly and rationally with my own little brush with the medical establishment—making a difference by keeping me on an even keel when I was at high risk for capsizing. Most of all, what I want to say this year is that—despite your own trials and tribulations, self-doubts and daily challenges—you have also succeeded.
Each of you, in your own unique way, has made a difference.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me breathe easier. I appreciate it more than I could ever adequately express.
May you have a happy Thanksgiving marked by a meal filled with comfort, the comfort of a warm home, and the warmth of people who love you.