What I’m Thankful For–and Why

By Norma Adams-Wade
Columnist

O. K. I’m like you. I used to think it was kind of meaningless for a family to surround a table of tempting food and makeup pat answers for why they’re grateful on this day of Thanksgiving. I’ve grown much now. I’ve lived more life. I’ve witnessed more misfortune. I’ve watched more endless, depressing TV news reports. And I’ve come aboard the thankful train. Today on this Thanksgiving, November 26, 2020, the world is overrun with misery. And yet, I was just thinking… Is your glass half empty or half full? Somebody wise, and probably full of Thanksgiving turkey, said, “It depends on how you look at it.” For every negative, there is a positive. For every loss, there is a gain. For every death, a new life is born. For every tear, there is a bright smile somewhere. So here is my glass:

1. My glass is full of opportunity. I now realize that each morning when my feet touch the floor, I have another chance to make good what I messed up the day before, or at least to start anew. And I am thankful for it.

2. My glass is full of possibilities. I have come to realize the simple truth in the saying “nothing ventured, nothing gained.” And I am thankful for it.

3. My glass is full of a made-up mind. When I was younger and even small than my current weight and height, I used to move my upright piano alone, from one wall to another while rearranging the furniture. I told my mind: “I can do this.” And I did. I’ve always believed the mind is a computer and will follow the programming you install in it. And I am thankful for it.

4. My glass is full of hope. The opposite of hope is despair. Hope lifts up. Despair pulls down. Up is better. And I am thankful for it.

5. My glass is full of blind spots. I am blind to holding a grudge, blind to whispers behind my back, blind to who dug a hole for me but they fell in and I’m still standing. And I am thankful for it.

6. My glass is full of sunshine. Even when it’s cloudy and stormy, I know the sun is shining behind the clouds. And I am thankful for it.

7. My glass is full of encouraging memories. I think back to all those who guided me along my way – teachers, preachers, neighbors, kind strangers who extended a hand, no payment expected. And I am thankful for it.

8. My glass is full of the sounds of nature. Birds chirping, the wind blowing through trees, early-morning rain falling on the roof before the break of day. And I am thankful for it.

9. My glass is full of regenerating energy. When I feel I cannot go on, that made-up mind I talked about kicks in. And I am thankful for it.

10. My glass is full of wonder. How did the one who rules the universe create it? How did this unseen power choose to place me in this vast realm of space and time? And I am thankful for it.

So, when I hear the round the-table, seemingly pat answers for thankfulness this year, I can peel away the jaded doubt and realize: Gosh, they really mean it!

Norma Adams-Wade is a veteran, award-winning Journalist, a graduate of UT-Austin and Dallas native. She is also one of the founders of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and was inducted into the NABJ Hall of Fame.