A guest post from friend, Ted Rich...
It is hard to believe, but another Thanksgiving holiday is upon us. This is probably my favorite holiday of the year for many reasons, including that it is celebrated by almost everyone in our country and doesn’t involve the stress of gifts or forcing the kids into outfits they only wear once a year.Most importantly this holiday is special because at its core it is simply about taking a break from our hectic lives to gather with family and friends, share a meal, and be thankful. And for those reading this who live in America, have at least decent health, and have a few close relationships, that puts you ahead of 99% of the rest of the world, and those things alone are enough to celebrate on Thanksgiving. It seems like gratitude is becoming a lost value in our society, but at least we still focus on it one day a year. It is so important to our well-being that we should probably have a Thanksgiving Day once a month, or even once a week!
We have so much to be grateful for in our household, but this year the overwhelming feelings are that I am thankful just to be alive, and I am thankful that I was blessed to know Jason Beaird for over 25 years. Jason taught us so many things both with his words and with how he lived his life, and so many of those lessons are encompassed in the spirit of Thanksgiving Day. If he could speak to us this Thanksgiving, he would probably suggest to us a few key areas for us to keep in mind when pondering gratitude during the holiday.Jason would tell us how incredibly short our time is here on Earth, and to be thankful for each and every day that we have. He would tell us to treat each day as a gift and to dream, build, explore and take on new challenges and risks. He would tell us to be grateful that we live in a country that allows us the freedom and opportunity to pursue life on our own terms, and to never give up in those pursuits.
Jason would remind us to be thankful to live in a place where you can practice your faith and values of choice. He was a man of faith and would tell us that Heaven is for real, but also that whatever your beliefs are, be true to them knowing that none of us is guaranteed to be here tomorrow.Most importantly, Jason would tell us to be grateful for the close relationships in our lives, and to love and cherish them each and every day. He was so intentional about making sure those he cared about knew it, and that is something each of us should be practicing not just on Thanksgiving, but every day.
Notice that none of the above concepts reference material possessions, fame, fortune or any of the typical drivers of ‘success and happiness’ promoted by today’s society. No, Jason would tell us with great certainty now that those things do not matter, and that it is the simple and important things in our lives on which we should focus during the Thanksgiving holiday.This Thanksgiving, take some extra time to think about the life of Jason Beaird and the lessons he taught us both during his life and with his passing. Talk with your friends and family about the simple but powerful ideals that Jason held dear and how those should be the focus of Thanksgiving instead of the three F’s (food, football and Friday) that our society hold up high.
In our house, we will be giving thanks for having known Jason and having learned so much from him.Happy Thanksgiving to all! Ted Rich
PS. If you have never read the original Thanksgiving Proclamation from President George Washington, which created the first Thanksgiving Day designated by the national government of the United States, it is included below:
Issued by President George Washington, at the request of Congress, on October 3, 1789
By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.Go. Washington
(Photo below is of Jason and Ted in 1997 just after we (Jason and I) purchased our house. Ted helped us paint, remove baseboards, replace the kitchen, etc. prior to us moving into the house. We had many dinners together on these folding chairs on the "to be replaced with hardwood" cork floors in our now kid hangout room.)