Time to be thankful, even in a year fraught with heartbreak and uncertainty

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Vernon A. Williams

By Vernon A. Williams

Nobody saw 2020 coming. No­body. It started with a beloved Hall of Fame athlete dying in a helicop­ter accident with his teenage daugh­ter and others, and it went down badly from there. But with all that went wrong, if you’re reading this column, you’re still here and prayer­fully will eventually see these unbe­lievably dark clouds lift.

When you give “thanks” this week, it will undoubtedly be tem­pered with a lingering sense of emp­tiness and hurt as the result of lost family, of friends, colleagues, neigh­bors and perhaps – to some mea­sure – faith. No one can blame you. This year was monstrous.

A word that wasn’t even in our vocabulary became a daily concern. Coronavirus. Then there was the death of a Black man jogging in Georgia, a Black woman sleeping in Kentucky and a Black father beg­ging for his life as a rogue police­man’s knee choked him to death in broad daylight.

Police killings didn’t start with these and sadly did not end there even for the year, but there was something about those three – es­pecially the last – that lit a fire of protest for social justice that could not be extinguished before spread­ing to every state and most coun­tries around the world.

Meanwhile, the nation was in the throes of the worst presiden­tial administration in U.S. history. That debilitating governance was exacerbated by the fact that 2020 was an election year. Lines were drawn in the political sand. On one side was a former vice presi­dent and U.S. senator; on the oth­er, a prevaricating, racist, misogy­nistic, heartless xenophobe totally lacking in character, competency and integrity.

Despite all those drawbacks, and too many more to mention, the in­cumbent philanderer-in-chief gar­nered nearly 71 million votes. For­tunately, that was seven million too few. But in keeping with the weird­ness that is 2020, the vanquished head of state is contesting the elec­tion outcome and refuses to peace­fully cooperate with the orderly transfer of power in America. Un­precedented.

Now, that’s a year for you. And we still have a month to go. But keep your head up. The old folks were right when they assured us that “trouble don’t last always” and that Jesus will “make a way out of no way.” As we give thanks we must keep believing, keep praying and keep putting in the work to help what Jesus calls “the least of mine.”

Life and death lie in the power of words. I never take lightly my assignment as a journalist because I know people are influenced by meaningful expression. So please allow me to put on your prover­bial holiday table a few items of Thanksgiving Food for Thought – a little something to complement your meal. Digest these words of wisdom:

  • Never downgrade your dreams to match your circumstance. In­stead, upgrade your faith to match your destiny.
  • Wishing ill on others will only make you sick, keep a good thought because you will reap what you sow.
  • Remember that there is a thin line between self-esteem and con­ceit, don’t get too caught up on yourself.
  • There are four things you can never recover; the stone after it is thrown, the word after it is spoken, the occasion after it is missed, and time after it is lost.
  • Humility is not thinking less of yourself – it is thinking of your­self less.
  • Silence isn’t always golden. Some­times it’s just plain old cowardice.
  • Trust your past to God’s MERCY, your present to God’s LOVE and your future to God’s PROVIDENCE.
  • If friends let you down, get over it. Remember one betrayed Jesus, another denied Him and a third one doubted Him.

Lastly, remember that every day is a good day. Make the best of it. No matter what you’re going through remember God is both the Giver and the Gift. He will never forsake you. Be blessed and be thankful!

CIRCLE CITY CONNECTION by Vernon A. Williams is a series of essays on a myriad of topics that include social issue, human interest, entertainment and pro­files of difference makers who are forging change in a constantly evolving society. Williams is a 40-year veteran journalist based in Indianapolis, IN – common­ly referred to as The Circle City. Send comments or questions to: vernonawiliams@yahoo.com.

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