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.
16 thoughts on “Abundant Gratitude”
Susan — Somehow this Musing languished in my inbox until now. But I have finally read it, and am glad I did so. In the months since it was written even more grisly events have happened throughout the world, but your observations are, if anything, even more timely.
Some commenters seem to take undue issue or umbrage at your phrase as to the ‘hate-filled college campuses.’ Why? I must vigorously defend your assertion: you did not say that ALL college campuses are filled with hate. Yet I am sure you (and most commenters) are aware how many a conservative or religious speaker is indeed shouted down by the student mob. Indeed I would not be surprised if you and the Rabbi have personally witnessed such behavior on campus. An anecdotal prophecy from a very wise man who taught us a course in psychology in the volatile anti-war 1970’s: ‘You guys think you are the revolutionaries. Your children will be the REAL revolutionaries.’ I wonder if he also knew that the next generation, having been brainwashed and initiated into ‘victimhood,’ would be used a frontline cannon fodder in support of a post-modern Marxist coup using propaganda worthy of Josef Goebbels.
I always learn something and usually find something thought provoking from your musings, Mrs. Lapin.
While I appreciate your peace-promoting sentiments, it concerns me that you make a general phrase about “The hate-filled college campuses…”, especially since I have a child in high school. Surely not all of our thousands of institutions of higher learning can be condemned for being “hate-filled”…and nothing positive. Nearly 4 decades ago when I was a freshman in college one of the first pieces of mail I found in my dorm mailbox was from a neo-nazi group. I threw it in the trash , and went on to enjoy my next 4 years. Yes, youthful exuberance fuels impassioned speech – but on both sides of the coin: not just hate speech. And once the creation of ‘social media’ our fellow citizens off ALL AGES have been more vocal than in the past.
Mrs. A., you are certainly correct that there are many college campuses and what I wrote won’t describe them all. I used way to large an umbrella. However, I do think that on many, many campuses the faculty and courses are negative influences today, not only certain student groups. I do think it is worse than it was in the last generation. And, I do think it is dangerously worse in terms of producing well-adjusted, peace-loving and patriotic students. I would happily see all liberal arts shut down for a few years while we reassessed exactly what the purpose of college liberal arts education should be.
Please look into Hillsdale college. The college was founded in 1844 and is a liberal arts college that will not allow any government money to influence how or what they teach. I’ve taken many of their on-line courses and they have all been very good.
Mark, I almost wrote Hillsdale as an exception. You are right. I would be happy to have my children go there.
As always you inspire and motivate, Susan. May your Thanksgiving table include your children and all whom you love. Blessings!
Thank you for this. Hate and love are at war constantly in this world, and we must all do whatever we can to help love win.
Thank you, I needed that.
Thank you for this inspirational and optimistic message; just what I needed to hear! All the best.
Dear Susan, I got so busy that I stopped reading your Muses. I am so thankful that on Thanksgiving I started reading them again and oh, what a blessing you are! I just got back from my first trip to Israel. I won the trip (4 and 5 star hotel, the most beautiful food I have eaten in my life, David Citadel Jerusalem) through an organization from the former deputy of Jericho, Amir Tsarfati – Behold Israel. He posts current events updates and ties them into Bible prophecy on his You Tube Channel. There were a group a Christian ladies on the bus who found him because they started a prayer group every week for Israel. I found that so amazing. I thought – Christians praying for Israel – I want to be one of them – now I am one of them. I ‘met’ God in Israel for the first time. I found out my mother’s father was a Hungarian Jew who ended up in America and married a Christian. Amir laughed, but lovingly, when I asked if it counts that I am 1/4 Jewish – he said, well a quarter is afterall only a quarter. What I found interesting was that with all the anti-semitism in the U.S., when my family found out, there was joy overall from the knowledge. He was someone I looked up to as having a quiet dignity – and now to my further joy, He was a Jew. Bless you this Thanksgiving and thank you again for Susan’s Musings! You make a wonderful contribution to the world – glad I am back. Victoria Andersson, American living in Sweden.
Though I’ve never met you or Reb Daniel, I turn to your writings frequently. As much as it is possible in my circumstances, I feel a strong admiration and love toward you both. I am a committed Christian who strongly identifies with God’s Chosen People and Israel. May our God bless and protect you and your family.
I enjoy Susan’s Musings as well as I do the TV program “Ancient Jewish Wisdom” I record it daily and watch it as soon as I can after its airing each day. I am truly blessed with what wisdom that Rabbi Lapin and Susan share. May G-d bless you for your labour of love.
I am also thankful for you and the Rabbi and the words of wisdom I am hearing several times a week. I am a student of the Bible and I am learning so much from you. I pass much of it to a study group of ladies whom I am teaching? Why the question mark? Because I will never feel I am a teacher. The more I study it seems the less I know. God Bless
Beautiful words of thanks. I also am thankful for a good nights sleep and awaking refreshed. Happy Thanksgiving.
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