November 23, 2013

Milwaukee Courier

Legislatively Speaking: Happy Thanksgiving!

By Senator Lena C. Taylor

As we scramble around grocery stores and kitchens, finalizing the last minute details of the biggest dinner of the year, I wanted to take a moment to slow down. After all, Thanksgiving is about more than just turkey and sweet potato pie! At its heart, this holiday is about coming together and celebrating all that we have to be thankful for.  Therefore, I would like to take an opportunity to share some of the things that I am thankful for and what they mean to me.

To start, I am so thankful for my family and friends. I am grateful that we are all healthy and able to come together and enjoy each other’s company. I am appreciative that we have a roof over our heads and that there will be food on the table. I am ever mindful that we have survived the some rough times, and that, together, we have celebrated the good.

As I list all that I have to be thankful for, I cannot help thinking that there are thousands of people around the state who are not as fortunate; people who go to bed at night in fear of what the next day holds or, in some cases, with no bed at all.  What is Thanksgiving like for those who are going without? Without a home? Without healthcare? Without a job? Without the basic means to cook an elaborate dinner, or to simply put food on the table?

In my role as state senator, I fight to address many of these problems.  Although we have made strides in several areas, there are many miles left for us to travel.  The journey can seem endless at times and hopelessness can set in. But we can never surrender to the idea that it will always be tough times. As a community, we must fill in the gaps until the ends can meet. As neighbors, we must come together to bring hope to those among us facing a difficult road.    

As we convene to give thanks for what we have, let us rededicate ourselves to giving others new reasons to be thankful. Now is the time to celebrate not just what has been given to us, but what we can give to others. We can give of our time and talents, in our schools, churches, and neighborhoods. We can give from our homes and community centers, by volunteering or simply being there as a support for someone else. We can give a moment of our time or we can make a lifetime of serving others. What is important is that we give as a community, working cooperatively to make life better for those around us.

The holidays are about togetherness, the strength found in family, and the solace created in friendship. This Thanksgiving should be a time of not only thanks, but of hope. As we join hands at the table, and offer an acknowledgement of all that we’ve been given, keep each member of our community in your thoughts.  Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus, 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

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