Ann Bailey: November is a month of musing
During this month with a day, this year Nov. 22, set aside to give thanks, I've thought a lot about faith and family, service and saints.
The first, faith in God, is the most important gift for which I am grateful because He is the reason that any of the other gifts are made possible. Without His creation of the world and everything in it, including me and my family, nothing would exist.
After God, comes gratitude for my family. I am blessed to have grown up in a family whose members love for one another has continued decades after we moved away from home to start our own families. Now, I not only am fortunate to have a husband and three children, in addition to my siblings and their children, but also extended family on Brian's side of the family. I am thankful for them and for the many friends I've made over the years whom I count as part of our family.
Besides celebrating Thanksgiving, November also is the month in which we honor veterans, so this month my mind also has been on the men and women in the military. Several members of my family have served in the military, and earlier this month, my son, Thomas went to U.S. Marines boot camp in San Diego. Hearing Thomas recite his enlistment oath to "...support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies ... so help me God" before he shipped out brought home to me the promise and sacrifices men and women make to ensure our freedoms and how beholden I am to them.
Besides Veterans Day and Thanksgiving, in the Catholic faith tradition, November is the month we celebrate All Saints Day. On Nov. 1 we honor the thousands of Saints, beginning with 11 of the Apostles, who have been canonized by the Catholic Church. On the next day, All Souls Day, we remember the saints with a small "s," people who have died, but have not been officially declared a saint by the church. My mom, dad and brother Richard are in the second group.
In the Catholic tradition we believe in the communion of saints which means we remain connected to one another after we die. It gives me great comfort that I can talk to both groups of saints and ask them to pray for me and my intentions. I believe that, though, I can't talk to, text or see Thomas until his graduation from boot camp about 10 weeks from now, the saints are watching over him. I know my mom, dad and Richard will be by Thomas' side encouraging him as he goes through the rigors of training and St. Barbara, the patron saint of artillerymen, has his back.
When I thank God for the gifts of faith and family, service and saints, it is just four things, but everything that means something to me is tied to them. My hope is that each one of you has a simple thing or things to be thankful for that is bound to something much bigger. Happy Thanksgiving to all.