On this Thanksgiving Day, what is there to be thankful for?
It can feel like there isn’t much. So many people say they believe the country is politically divided as never before, and certainly the terrible things that humans endure — wars, hunger, abuse — continue on a daily basis.
But gratitude exists, and it’s out there. Just take a look at people who have told The Joplin Globe in the past few months what they’re thankful for:
• Students and staff at Liberal High School expressed gratitude to the Missouri Department of Conservation earlier this month after receiving new archery equipment to replace items that were lost in an arson fire in September.
“This is really cool, and I’m so happy and excited that they donated this to us,” 14-year-old freshman Cora James told the Globe. “I’m really thankful about it and that we’re all together again. I didn’t know if anyone had enough money to donate, or if they were going to. It just makes me really happy that someone cares.”
• Many residents of Carl Junction were grateful when a library finally opened inside their community center in September. The city had been the largest in Jasper County without a library, and a committee worked tirelessly on the endeavor after a tax proposal for it had failed in April.
“Seeing the smiles on people’s faces makes it all worth it,” said LaDonna Allen, city councilwoman and committee volunteer, upon the library opening. “I’ve gotten more hugs in the last 20 minutes, thanking us for this. Everybody is smiling — from senior citizens to little bitty kids.”
• Civic-minded Joplin residents — including the next generation of leaders — were grateful for the opportunity to form the Joplin Youth Council, which was created by the Joplin City Council to give high school students firsthand knowledge of how local government works and to have input into city decisions.
“I am excited that this has become a reality,” councilwoman Melodee Colbert-Kean told the Globe in September. “I am thankful the council unanimously agreed on the importance of our youth having a voice toward the betterment and growth of our community.”
• Homeowners in Joplin, Carthage, Carl Junction and Webb City expressed gratitude in September when volunteers with Hearts and Hammers, God’s Resort and Joplin Area Habitat for Humanity joined forces for their annual Brush With Kindness workday.
“It’s like angels from heaven,” said 67-year-old Judy Mersman, a Webb City resident who was helped with yardwork during the event. “And there are no words to thank them. I mean, you could say ‘thank you’, but it’s not enough.”
Those are just four examples of our friends and neighbors getting into the spirit of Thanksgiving a little early. Today, let’s join them and commit to finding something about which to be thankful.
— The Joplin Globe