Often in life, distance, life changes, unexpected or even unfortunate situations can cause us to forget the great impact people might have had on us. As humans, we sometimes take for granted just how much of an influence people we no longer see on a regular basis have been in our lives. From the relatives that taught us values and virtues, to the first childhood friend that loved us unconditionally, to the teacher that nurtured one of our gifts, the ministers that helped save our family or the employer who gave us a chance, we tend to forget just how great a part of our life’s puzzle some actually were.
I was watching a reality show recently, when the star made a point to reference that one of the co-stars had been a friend since high school and had helped him tremendously. They both worked in the same industry. The star had excelled to great heights, and his friend hadn’t yet. The star wanted to show his appreciation by giving the friend a platform through his show. I thought that was amazing!
There are so many people I would like to go back and thank. Holidays and special days like Thanksgiving make the thought of those who have helped shaped me sing from my heart more than normally. As I edit this previously posted blog post, while watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade I think of my maternal grandparents and the many, many 4th Thursdays in November I spent with them piled in a home with up to 20 adults and children watching the parade, going to the Turkey Day Classic Parade and Game, and enjoying dinner that lasted for days. They, along with my parents, paternal grandmother and other older relatives really taught me about the love of and support for family.
I think about my bestie, Edith Arms, whom I’ve known since 1977 in kindergarten who served as my bodyguard and became my best friend for life; to my 5th grade math teacher Mrs. Gladys Williams, who taught me that being Black in a predominantly white school was not only okay, but that it could be pretty cool; to the people from my former churches, Greater Shiloh, New Hope or Mt. Zion who developed my love for Christ and passion for public speaking, taught me event organization or allowed me a platform to grow and give; to the college professor, Mr. Paul Delaney who exposed me to the wonderful world of journalism, and the hospital president Mr. Charlie Faulkner that fussed at me for not taking digital photos correctly which led to my love of pictures! Through God’s guidance, all of these people, and so many more played a major role in helping make me who I am. I would like to take this time now to say “Thank You”.
Who helped you become you? Who was instrumental in your life? When was the last time you went back to thank those who helped you go forward? On this day of Thanksgiving, whether they are in Heaven or within reach, today is a good day to go back and say “Thank You”.