Unceasingly Grateful

By: Philippe Thibault – Nov. 2023

Maybe it is the crisp air, the smell of fallen leaves, the sound of a crackling fire, the long shadows on midafternoon walks, or the plastic Santa Clauses that have been in stores since Labor Day, but this time of year brings out philanthropic qualities of goodwill that we should try to emulate throughout the year.

While the world around us is haggard and tempest torn, there is one defense against this assailment. It is gratitude. Yes, there is trouble and strife in these times of woe and want. I have been the target of abuse by another “contributor” to this paper in the past and probably in this current edition. The bitterness of another will not detract me from the gratitude I have for those who show me kindness or better still show kindness to those they do not know.

There was a craft fair this Saturday morning held by an organization called End 68 Hours of Hunger. The mission of this group is to confront the sixty-eight hours of the weekend that children spend from the time they leave school on Friday to the time they return on Monday morning often in food insecurity.

It is challenging work to provide a backpack to a child to pick up before the weekend starts. I can understand the anxiety there must be for a child and gratefully I have never experienced it. I have come to know Andrea Connelly, the programs coordinator for Dracut, as one of the community’s angels. She truly does God’s work.

All eyes in the Greater Lowell area are turning to the Annual Salvation Army Radiothon. Before it was even known as the Radiothon, it was Warren Shaw and Arthur Sutcliff on the Saturday Morning Live radio show asking people to donate money to the Lowell Salvation Army to aid in their mission in surrounding communities. Five thousand dollars was raised that first day some twenty-five years ago.

The 2023 goal was set at one quarter of a million dollars. It would seem incredibly unrealistic to raise that sum on a Saturday morning. That is what makes the miracle so real. Warren still hosts the program on WCAP 980 AM with Gerry Nutter and Shawn Ashe. There are many behind the scenes that make the efforts look easy. The date is December 2nd starting at 6:00 am and going until they reach their goal. You quickly learn how generous the Merrimack Valey can be.

There are few things that defy the laws of physics that become greater when they are divided. Joy and gratitude are such entities. If you give joy and gratitude to another individual, it is never taken away or lost from yourself. The best way to make two people happy is to make someone else happy.

It is that simple. I believe that is what is so endearing and enduring about the story of Ebeneezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. Through visitations of Christmas Spirits: past, present, and future. Scrooge realizes that trying to hoard what he thinks will make him happy creates misery. Only through giving of himself does he achieve true happiness and wealth.

I am grateful for the sacrifices that my parents made for me. They made do to provide what they felt their children should have: a good education and moral upbringing. I am truly humbled by their dedication and devotion to family and friends.

My endeavor now is to pass those blessings along as best I can to the next generation of family, friends, and community. But for the Grace of God go I and I am unceasingly grateful. ◊