It’s Thanksgiving. What do you have to be thankful for?
I know it has been a tough year for a lot of us. The weather and markets have gotten the best of us and it may be one of the hardest years for you ever, but you know what? There is an awful lot to be thankful for, even in a year like this.
Each of us who live in this great nation should be thankful for that, and that should be enough. We have so many advantages, rights and freedoms that often we take them for granted. We live in a society and a nation with a lifestyle that most of the world can only dream of. We have the ability and the freedom to do whatever makes us happy, and that is luxury most of the rest of mankind never know.
I know this has been a lean, tough year, and maybe the near future doesn’t look so good either. I get it. I am right there with you. But I can tell you this: we have the opportunity to bounce back, to see success and to make things better. That is an opportunity many never have. Even when we are at the lowest of our lows, we are still better off than most, and that is something we should be thankful for.
Let’s start off at the most basic level. Do you have a roof over your head? Do you have food in your refrigerator? Do you have water, electricity and heat? If the answer was yes — and I suspect it is — you should be thankful for what you have. I don’t mean to be condescending because I am talking to myself as much as anyone else.
Thanksgiving is a day when I hope you take the time to reflect on all that you have been blessed with. I know it is easy to let bad things pile up and get down, but each of us have been so blessed and we’ve been given so much that we should take the time to give thanks more often than once a year. But this is a start, and I hope you will take that time to pause and think of all you have.
Those of us who make our living in agriculture have an extra measure of blessing. I know that is easy to forget when the snow is blowing or the rain will not let up. When the markets go down when they should have gone up, it is hard to think of how good we have it.
Yesterday was one of those days for me. I won’t lie, it was a tough day. It was one of those days when things started off bad and kept piling up. Just when I thought the day couldn’t get worse — bang — another thing happened.
However, at the end of the day, I was leaning on the hood of the truck talking to Isaac about the farm and the future. Suddenly, things didn’t seem so bad. Sure, it was a rough day, but we will find a way through it — and all because I have been blessed to live where I do and be born into the life I have. That is the thanks we should all be giving.
Each day we have the chance to go out and grow food. We get to work in the fresh air, plant seeds, work with animals and, most of all, be free. I am not sure life can get any better than that. We have challenges, but I am sure those challenges are there to make us appreciate the good times. Even in tough times, we have so much to be thankful for.
I hope you had a Thanksgiving surrounded by friends and family. I hope you were able to sit down to a magnificent dinner with all the trimmings, but most of all I hope each of you were able to find just a moment of peace this Thanksgiving — a moment when you can take in all you have been given and just be at peace.
It might be in the morning when you are alone doing chores. You might be drinking that first cup of coffee before everyone else starts to stir. It might even be sitting in the middle of that family gathering with chaos and noise all around. But I hope the moment will find you and you will be able to relax and smile just a bit when it hits you.
I know it is a moment I need.
What does the next year hold? Odds are it will be better, and I hope it is. Just know that we all have so much to be thankful for and our blessings are many. I hope this holiday season finds you with harvest done and your livestock cared for and you can see all of those things you have to be thankful for.
Glenn Brunkow is a fifth-generation farmer in the Northern Flint Hills of Pottawatomie County in Kansas. He was a county Extension agent for 19 years before returning to farm and ranch full time. He can be reached at email@example.com.