NEWS N’ VIEWS
Father Richard F. Gorman
Community Board #12 (The Bronx)
BRONX, NEW YORK, November 21- I suspect that by the time you have the opportunity to see this column, you might well be feeling a bit tired, a touch full in the stomach, and, perhaps, a tad out of sorts.
This is quite understandable, as you will be reading my words subsequent to our annual “GOBBLEFEST.” Of course, I am making light of our beloved national holiday, Thanksgiving Day. However, I refer to it as “GOBBLEFEST” not only because of this holiday’s signature tradition of enjoying a turkey dinner, but likewise because Thanksgiving is all too frequently a busy and bustling day upon which one contends with “I,” “C,” “I” -- i.e., “Irritation” with preparing for visiting relatives and guests, “Congestion” on the highways, and “Indigestion” after eating and drinking too much! Too many of us, “Yours Truly” included, “gobble” down a little more than we should in the course of commemorating this yearly event.
Nonetheless, in spite of the aforementioned, Thanksgiving is a day to take stock of life and to take the time to be grateful for whatever blessings with which we have been gifted. As we sit round and about our Thanksgiving dinner tables, we can plainly and immediately see right in front of our nose the most significant and precious of these graces and good fortunes -- viz., family, friends, health, happiness, and the means with which to provide for ourselves. In these gifts, hopefully, we are prompted and prodded to celebrate those two fundamental realities that underlie and underwrite them -- first of all, the God who gives us life and who redeems it and, secondly, a free country with its open, democratic society that affords us the opportunity to enjoy and to exercise our God-given human rights and dignity. For God and for nation, and for all those blessings that issue forth from them, we need to be humbly appreciative for who we are and for all that we have.
On this Thanksgiving week in the Year of Our Lord 2012, I write to give public thanks for, ironically enough, for that what was recently not given to us -- i.e., the same magnitude of devastation that Hurricane Sandy inflicted on our less fortunate fellow New Yorkers in other parts of our City and our State. True, there were many residents of our own neighborhood that were adversely impacted by the recent extreme weather. Nonetheless, Bronx Community District #12 was spared the horror of what happened in areas such as Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island, a grace for which I am deeply grateful.
I am equally as thankful for the privilege of serving as the Chairman of Community Board #12 (The Bronx). It has been, and remains, an awesome honor that I neither take for granted nor fail to be grateful for each and every day of my tenure and my service as Chairman. Notice here that I utilize the expression “to give thanks” for, to my mind, there is a big distinction between merely “SAYING THANKS” and really and actually “GIVING THANKS.” The distinction between them is neither superficial nor simply stylistic or terminological. There is a bona fide dichotomy that is best defined and highlighted by the wisdom contained in the familiar, old adage “ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS.” I am further reminded of the insightful admonition that words are oftentimes cheap. The values that we truly cherish and that form the basis for how we think and live are best manifested by our actions, not by our words. More importantly than maintaining that I am a grateful person is the upholding and the daily observance of a way of life that exhibits thankfulness and gratitude. The undertaking of such a lifestyle, in my humble estimation, is the genuine test of Thanksgiving and all for which it stands. Thanksgiving is not just a day. Thanksgiving should be, and MUST be, a way of life!
This avowal naturally should lead a thoughtful individual to inquire what a “Thanksgiving” way of living entails. For what it is worth, I believe it requires one to live in peaceful, respectful, and civil concord with others. Scripture instructs us that gratefulness to God is best demonstrated by esteem and regard without distinction for all of God’s children, icons of the Divine Image and Presence in whose Holy Image we have been created. Appreciation for the blessings of our magnificent land is preeminently displayed in facilitating and protecting the exercise of those God-given and constitutional liberties that we claim for our loved ones and ourselves. A most excellent fashion in which to proclaim our appreciation of family, friends, home, and the ability to support them is to enable others to realize and to have the benefit of these blessings as well. Such is the challenge of a genuinely thankful person, not only on the Thursday that is called “Thanksgiving Day,” but on each and every day in each and every year. May it be an endeavor that we all accept with relish and in which we succeed beyond all expectations.
On behalf of myself, my District Manager, Miss Carmen L. Rosa; our staff members, Mrs. Ursula D. Cruz-Greene, Ms. LaShieka Williams and Ms. Jakira Torres; our Associates, Mrs. Joyce Anthony and Mrs. Verna Smith; and all of my colleagues on Community Board #12 (The Bronx), I convey best wishes for this holiday and for the others soon to follow, along with the hope that our gracious and grateful way of living will redound to the benefit of our neighborhood, our Borough, our City, our, State, and our Nation, and, indeed, all the world.