The peaceful quiet is shattered by the sound of a shotgun. The fear that pierces my heart is quickly replaced with gratitude. From where I am sitting in the room where I write at home, I rapidly rationalize the disruption as someone practicing shooting or perhaps hunting, if it is the season for that. I don’t really keep up with the hunting calendar except for through what I catch in the Circleville Herald and notice in the changing patterns of the running of the deer in the nearby fields. And I think of those who have not been blessed with the calmness that comes when recognizing that which seems threatening is not. I am praying for those who were recently gathered in a synagogue worshipping in what should be the safest of places and were murdered. My heart is filled with thoughts and prayers for those who lost their lives while innocently enjoying friendships and music in a bar in California. And every day I pray for people everywhere, be they journalists, students, officers … I pray for all of us.

And my heart is broken for those who have heard the loud crash of what was not a gun but rather a tree falling, or a roof collapsing in the fires and hurricanes that have ravaged our beautiful America. And I am praying for those who have lost loved ones and for those whose lives have been radically altered. In the raw aftermath, every day and every hour becomes focused on how to endure the next minute.

We live our days grateful for the big things and the small. All days are for giving thanks, not just the one day a year when we feast on turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie. In our gratitude, some of us recognize the brushes we have had with death. We remember the times when we were harmed, but found the courage to stand back up. And for those who have never been victim to the traumatic forces of human or nature origin, there is gratitude for not having the nightmares of such hauntings during what should be restful sleep. And while we all give thanks for things that are good and the better to come, I know that this Thanksgiving, there will be extra servings of prayers given for those who are suffering.

We can add action to our prayers in so many ways, whether it is to give to Berger Health Foundation, the Pickaway County Wright Poling Dog Shelter, the Red Cross or other charities who match prayer with purpose. Whatever your prayers may be, Dear Readers, I am wishing that they will be fulfilled and that you will have a peaceful Thanksgiving.

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