Greetings and Salutations to All my Kith and Kin and All the Ships in Outer Space:
As we approach Thanksgiving Day, have you counted your blessings lately?
One thing I've discovered is that, when kneeling in prayer, if I try to enumerate and/or specifically name each and every blessing in my life, and especially the blessings I take for granted (i.e., clean water, fresh air, et cetera), it is impossible to do.
Every single time I do that, at the conclusion of my unusually lengthy prayer of thanksgiving, I'll get to my feet, walk a few steps, and suddenly remember some gifts and blessings I'd forgotten to mention.
You'll see for yourself what I'm talking about.
This is a subject that I've written about more than once on previous occasions, and I reckon I'll probably write about and/or speak about it in the future (assuming there is a mortal future for me) again and again and again, ad infinitum.
There are moments when I am suddenly overwhelmed by the realization of how blessed I am.
The past couple of days are instances where I felt like that.
It was little things like sitting comfortably on my sofa, using my computer to watch a DVD of an exciting movie on my wide screen, high definition television, snacking on popcorn and other assorted goodies, and drinking ice cold Pepsi-Cola from my Clan Henderson pewter tankard.
It's little things like the medicine prescribed to alleviate my constant pain, my monthly disability retirement pension, and the full sized bed, with lots of blankets and pillows, in my comfortably furnished private room.
It's little things like the realization that I'm alive, not incarcerated, and still have the use of both hands, both feet, my mind, my speech, and my senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell.
I reckon I feel the effects of all these blessings so intently because so much of my life has been one of deprivation, degradation, and physical peril.
As a youth, I was in some terrible places with some terrible people, forced to endure some terrible experiences, and yet, today, I am alive and free, when circumstances so easily could have turned me into a serial murderering psychotic sociopath.
I marvel at how well off I am, and I wonder about it?
There was a time in my life when I thought I'd never be able to finish high school, or go to college, or serve in the military, or drive a car, or have a girlfriend, or be married, or travel, or even to just live a normal life, like other folks live.
But, I did have a few advantages.
One of them was constantly reading every book I could get my hands on.
Another was my habit of imitating the singers I heard on the radio, and therefore, spontaneously singing all the time, regardless of whether folks stared and thought me to be weird or insane.
Another advantage I had was my ignorance and naivete, and thus, completely oblivious to danger, I'd hitch-hike all over the United States of America.
Since I was frequently unemployed, penniless, alone, on foot, homeless, hungry, wet, and cold, the physical hardships and dangerous situations I would encounter were no real hindrance.
Two events have had the most positive effect on my life.
First, I became a convert in The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints.
The real importance there was some of the other young men in the Church literally took me physically by the hand and taught me how to walk and talk like a normal person.
The other most positive influence was being accepted into the United States Army, during a war which was unpopular and controversial.
That opened up a LOT of doors!
Who, knowing me at the worst moments of my youth, would ever imagine I would ever travel all over the world, including a very special visit to the land of Israel, and that one day, I'd be composing both lyrics and melody for original songs that I'd perform myself?
Who could ever have possibly imagined ME (!), for a few years, having served as the officially appointed bard of a Scottish clan?
Ah, and LOOK at the times we're living through!
I've seen man walk on the Moon!
I've seen genuine, actual spacemen floating around in Outer Space!
Now, we have personal home computers, and we can chat with anyone, face to face, anyplace in the world!
And, oh, the many wonderful people I've become acquainted with!
Dreams do come true, although in my case, I'm still not quite sure why they did or do.
I was lucky.
I was blessed - - - EXCEEDINGLY blessed!
Even now, to this very day, to this very moment, it is beyond my understanding.
Try doing what I've done.
Get on your knees and try thanking our Heavenly Father for each and every blessing and gift that you can think of.
Then, when you stand up and start to walk away, you'll remember some gifts and/or blessings that you forgot to mention when you were trying to give thanks to Heavenly Father.
See what I mean?
Doesn't this make you feel really well off, richly blessed beyond all measure?
Since all of us are mere mortal human beings, universally plagued with temptations, vices, and sin, the knowledge of how richly blessed we are probably leaves us also feeling a bit humbled and perhaps, maybe even unworthy.
But, even though we might not comprehend what's going on, the fact is, our Heavenly Father loves His children, and just like any mortal father, He probably delights in showering His children with gifts, just to see our reaction.
Or, maybe there's more to it than that.
I don't know.
What do you think?
1800 Beach Drive, Unit 311