Lights. We have now entered Hanukkah and Advent. Both celebrations involve the lighting of candles. Whichever season you are celebrating, I pray your light will brightly shine.

Great News. In March, Jeny started her journey with an endometrial cancer diagnosis. She did not start it alone. She had many of you accompanying her in her journey.

She had surgery and the surgeon thought he and his robot got all the cancer. However, the cancer type was particularly aggressive and he recommended chemotherapy and possibly radiation. The recommendation was supported by our niece Laura Williams Goff, who is a cancer specialist at Vanderbilt.

Jeny began six treatments of powerful chemotherapy. The treatments were scheduled for every three weeks. Some treatments were delayed when Jeny’s platelet count was low. She finished two weeks ago. She had a cat scan a week ago. 

Monday, she got the “all clear.”

 She has been through a lot. Without her faith and the prayers and support of so many people it would have been much more difficult. One clear message— if you get cancer do not treat it like you have the plague. Let people know and accept their support – it helps.

In this season of thanksgiving, we certainly are thankful to God and to all of you. Your support of Jeny has been remarkable, heartwarming and deeply appreciated.

Thanksgiving Redo. Speaking of Thanksgiving, I prepared a blog last week. Three weeks ago, I goofed and did not get the blog out on time. Last week I published it on time. I saw that it went to my web page but was very surprised when it did not get distributed to you. Whatever went wrong, I hope it is corrected.

I want you all to have the chance to see the blog without having to go to my web site, so here is last week’s blog:

Some people want to eliminate Thanksgiving as a national holiday. They prefer a day of atonement for the mistreatment of indigenous people.

In grade school, I learned about The Mayflower voyage and the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth rock. Jeny had three relatives on the Mayflower and she has no interest in them.

I learned Squanto taught the pilgrims farming and survival skills. I learned the Pilgrims and some Indians celebrated the success of the first harvest. I learned Thanksgiving has roots in that festival.

Later I learned how difficult the voyage was and how many pilgrims died the first winter as they remained aboard ship.

Later I learned Squanto was Tisquantum. He had been captured and been in slavery in Europe. He learned English. He made his way to freedom and returned to America, only to find out his tribe had been annihilated by smallpox and other diseases brought to America by Europeans. He was adopted by the Wampanoag tribe. He was the last of the Pawtuxet.

His language skills were of enormous help in the relationships between the Wampanoag tribe and the Pilgrims. His survival skills saved the Pilgrims.

I learned a feast to celebrate a successful harvest was a tradition practiced in many locations. It was not a national practice until William Seward drafted the Thanksgiving Proclamation delivered by Abraham Lincoln. The proclamation called for the holiday to be a national holiday and to occur on a continuous basis. But it took until 1941 for Thanksgiving to become an official national holiday.

Although the holiday has its roots in my grade school knowledge, the day has many more meanings. For example, Lincoln was in the midst of the Civil War. He hoped a day of thankfulness for our blessings would be a step toward unification of a vastly divided nation. I suggest that would be a worthy purpose for Thanksgiving Day given the current mess in which we live.

And. I can rue First Nations treatment AND celebrate Thanksgiving. I chose to do both. The situation is another “and” answer rather than “either/or.”

When I got up Thanksgiving morning, I was not celebrating America’s Pilgrim past. I celebrated a long list of present-day blessings and gave thanks to God. I committed to do what I can to help those who do not have the blessings I have been given. I take seriously the concept – to those to whom much is given, much is expected.

I also prayed for unity in our land and in the world. I will remember Martin Louis King III’s statement: “We must learn to live together as brothers (and sisters) or we will surely die together as fools.”




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