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Good time to think about what matters

As I See It

This is Thanksgiving Week. Most everybody will be off Thursday and many will take Friday off to make a long weekend. For Americans, this holiday is a time for family gatherings and good food. Friday will be a shopping frenzy as stores open early and the Christmas buying rush begins.

The very name of the holiday implies that we are celebrating our thankfulness for the blessings we enjoy. In the days when mere survival was a cause for celebration, blessings probably weren’t taken for granted as much as they are today. Though obesity is now a far greater threat to our well-being than starvation, it’s not sufficient to just murmur some innocuous little prayer and get on with the overeating.

It’s not uncommon to find me in a reflective mood at this time of year. My life has truly been blessed and I am thankful for the opportunities that have come my way.

I am ever so grateful for my religious faith that allows freedom of choice and forgiveness for mistakes. As I think back on some of the regrettable things I have done during my life it is reassuring to know that no matter what the sin, forgiveness is only a heartfelt prayer away. Yesterday is history and tomorrow offers a new opportunity to get things right.

I was raised in a loving family and that has made all the difference. I’ve always had the comfort of knowing that my family was concerned about me and stood ready to support me no matter what circumstance I might find myself in. When my father died several years ago I realized that, for the first time in my life, I was living without that comfort of knowing he was thinking about me each and every day.

My children are mostly grown, educated and taking their place in the adult world. They continue to be a blessing to me as I watch them spread their wings and discover life’s mysteries for themselves. Later in life I found my ideal marriage partner and I’m enjoying a relationship that is loving, complete and fulfilling. A man can ask for nothing better.

From an early age I was encouraged to get a good education and, though at the time I didn’t understand the importance, I got one. Raymond High School, Hinds Community College, Mississippi College and the University of Southern Mississippi all helped prepare me to take my place in our society and gave me the skills to earn a good living. My education has served as a launching pad, enabling me to explore several careers and make my own way in the world and I will be forever grateful for that opportunity.

Armed with a good education, I have pursued business opportunities galore. Some have been successful, some not so successful, but all were learning experiences. For the most part I have been self-employed since 1976 and have thoroughly enjoyed the freedom and independence of being somewhat in control on my own destiny. Without public education and the miracle of the American economic system I couldn’t have done what I have done and I am ever so grateful that we have the freedom to pursue our dreams.

Religious faith. Family. Education. Freedom. That only skims the surface of my thanksgiving list, but it touches on the high points. I hope these personal reflections may inspire others to pause and think about how truly blessed we all really are.

God has been gracious in granting us humans the gift of conscience and offering a way to repent for our mistakes and begin again with a clean slate. In my opinion, that is the greatest blessing of all.

From all of us here at the Mississippi Business Journal, we wish for each of you a blessed and joyful Thanksgiving holiday. Please remember our men and women serving in the armed forces in your thoughts and prayers. They would all prefer to be home with their families to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Thought for the Moment — From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. — Luke 12:48

Joe D. Jones, CPA, is publisher of the Mississippi Business Journal. Contact him at cpajones@msbusiness.com.

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