I hope that you are too busy preparing for a grateful Thanksgiving with relatives and friends to have time to read a long Musing. We are looking forward to welcoming two of our grandchildren (5 and 8) from out-of-town who will remain with us for the weekend after joining us for a Thanksgiving feast at the home of gracious friends.
Like many Jews around the globe, I utter a formal prayer of thanks for the privilege of living another day as soon as I open my eyes every morning. Additionally, I have also been trying to highlight one aspect of my day for which I am grateful before going to bed at night.
I would like to share three events in my life from the past week that illuminate why I am so grateful and humbled to live in this wonderful country. My Musings often focus on problems, but I do believe that the number of Americans whose values I share is still larger than the number whose values I see as dangerous. That’s why I am optimistic about this country continuing to flourish as a beacon of goodness around the world.
- On Thursday night, my husband and I were privileged to be invited to a house-warming for Pastors Liz and Larry Huch’s new home in Texas. These courageous and visionary leaders of New Beginnings Church, along with the people who surround them, give us hope. Their guests, of course, represented many races and nationalities, unlike the stereotype I read about in the mainstream media, but don’t recognize. Strong in their Christian faith, on the following Sunday, members of this church donated their fourth ambulance to Israel’s emergency medical response organization, Magen David Adom.
- On Sunday night my husband and I were guests at a banquet for B’nai Zion, an Israeli organization that funds a major hospital as well as a number of other charitable initiatives in Israel. The honorees were two couples, both devoted Christians. One of the couples, Pastors Cyd and Ricky Texada, are long-time friends of ours and we look up to them and their senior pastors as examples of loving-kindness and steadfastness.
- While we were traveling, our office received a phone call from a man we have not yet met. Pastor Mark J. Pudlowski was calling with a sense of urgency to ask for my husband’s advice. It seems that near where he lives in Pennsylvania there is an old Jewish cemetery that is no longer in use, is somewhat hidden, and that has been neglected for many years. He wanted to know if it would be offensive in any way for a group from his church to go in and clean up the cemetery. Not only is it not offensive, but it is a warm and loving action to take.
A few weeks ago, a lone and bitter man killed eleven Jews in a Pittsburgh synagogue while shouting his hatred for all Jews. Many of the doctors and nurses who treated him for his wounds at a nearby hospital were Jewish.
The murderer’s vision of America is not the America that I know and love. The hate-filled college campuses that spread resentment and violence are not the America that I know and love.
There will be many days in the year ahead to fight for certain ideas and against others. The United States is in a tug-of-war for her soul. For one beautiful American day, let’s focus on what is good and right and much more common throughout the land than we often realize.
I wish you all a joyful Thanksgiving and may you always have much to be grateful for in your lives.