A Deeper Thankfulness: Second Chances

As so many do on Thanksgiving Day, I too am reflecting on the last year, on the things for which I am thankful, and those things where my thankfulness has been absent or lacking.

Don’t get me wrong — I am always polite and quick to say “please” and “thank you” to others. It is part of my kind and caring nature, to help build up those around me and to enrich their lives, so they might also do the same to others. For example, when collaborating at work with colleagues, whether receiving or giving assistance, I very frequently end the session with an expression of thanks for their effort and contributions.

However, I don’t regularly feel grateful for the gifts blessed upon me each day, and in doing so believe I take those for granted. These gifts include family, a stable and prosperous job, a stable shelter that is warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Is it that these things have generally been simply too “normal” for me? Too constant and stable? Too unchanging and unchallenged? Or is it also that my baseline thankfulness is so “normal” that I don’t feel it or don’t recognize it? It is more common for me to feel thankful for the things when they change or are different, rather than when they remain the same.

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to go to a concert by David Haas, a composer of liturgical music for Catholic and Christian churches. It was a wonderful opportunity to hear some of his newer music that I had not yet found or sought out. His opening song of the night was titled, “The God of Second Chances.” Perhaps it has stuck with me so much since then because of knowing the story behind the song, which he shared afterward that night and has written about on his blog as well.

The Gold of Second Chances, by David Haas. Copyright 2005 by GIA Publications, Inc.

I can certainly point to some of the more significant events or periods in my life, recognizing both the “first chance” and then when the opportunities for the “second chance” came later. But what are some of the smaller, everyday second chances that I face but don’t recognize as such?

One that comes to mind today is my relationship with my 18-year-old son. As much as he and I are alike in many ways (namely our ways of thinking and expressing ourselves), we had been growing more and more isolated from each other in recent years. I, particular, felt it difficult to connect with him and share with him during those times when he was at my house. His graduation from high school, beginning college, and different desires and changes he’s asserted over the year with his change in status have certainly been a source of pain for me (the growing up transition for parents always is). But we’ve also had the opportunity to manifest our relationship in a different and more adult way, and I am grateful for him and for the time we are spending together.

With effort, I hope to be able to stop, recognize and write about more of the moments in my own life where thanks-giving is needed, in hopes that you might also be able to recognize them more in their lives too.

The exciting Chicago Bears 2018 season

NFL football is one of the things that I look forward to each year. It is the only sport I actually follow anymore. I was a little more interested in the New York Mets and the Chicago Bulls when I was younger, but it didn’t maintain after the star players on those teams weren’t playing anymore. Since childhood, baseball, basketball and hockey have never held my interest enough for me to want to follow teams or learn players.

And, to be honest, football lost my interest too for a while. I lived in Chicago during the 1985 Bears Superbowl season. While I never went to any games, I remember watching them on TV. I remember seeing Walter Payton run. I remember the dominance of that defense. I still remember many of the names of players from that team.

After moving to New York, I followed the Bears for a little bit and then the New York Giants for a bit. But then lost interest until the Bears’ 2006 season. The team was finally good again, on track to go to the playoffs, and I started watching late in the year. Since then, my connection to the team having been rekindled, I have been a more avid follower of the team. The games are not on TV as frequently here in New York, but I have watched as much as I’ve been able.

As an adult, I believe it’s easier to grind and survive through bad teams compared to as a child. The Bears have had many bad years again since 2006, but this year has been a rewarding one. 

The team’s defense was very strong, regularly stopping opposing offenses and producing turnovers. The offense has been generally solid most of the year, producing enough points to overcome their opponents but without blowing teams out by large margins either. As a team that finished in last place in their division last year and improved to first place this year, under a first-year head coach and a second-year quarterback, there is a lot to look forward given the team’s success this year.

Photo credit: chicagobears.com

Most importantly, though, the team was fun to watch. And they were having fun too. The coach even insisted upon it. Their play on the field was strong and explosive. The coach was using all the players in creative ways, pulling out some trick plays. The team had creative touchdown celebration dances and would celebrate after wins in the locker room in “Club Dub”. 

Their loss tonight in the playoffs to the Philadelphia Eagles was a heart-breaking one. The game was a tough, low-scoring defensive battle, as I thought it would be. The Eagles scored a touchdown with about a minute left in the game, but the Bears were able to push down the field and have one last chance. Unfortunately, the kicker missed the kick that would have won the game. 

Am I disappointed that the Bears lost when they were certainly good enough and played well enough to be able to win? Yes, of course. But I am very happy with how the season turned out and am excited with what next year will bring. 

If I can find or make a good highlight reel of the team’s season, I will post it here.

Welcome to my blog!

Hello and welcome to my new blog, The Inner Voice. After having the same 3 pages on my website for many years, it was definitely due for an update! Plus, as I discuss more in my Why I Blog page, this will give me more of an opportunity to write that I have had.

I have no particular plans regarding how often I will post. At this point, I’m planning to let my mood, spirit and schedule guide me. While I presently suspect that Computers, Music and Spirituality will be three of the main topics I will write about, I do not plan to limit only to those areas. I will use other tags and categories to help organize my content here.

I would like to be able to connect with as many readers as possible, so please feel free to comment on my posts, suggest additional topics for me or simply send me a message