We spend most of the year working hard to make good decisions, do the right thing, and choose the correct path.  Then on Thanksgiving, we show our thankfulness for what we have by congratulating ourselves for doing what we set out to do: make good decisions, do the right thing, and choose the correct path.

This all makes sense if you believe we control our own destiny and believe that by making good decisions, we wind up earning the things we “deserve” – things such as big and bigger homes, fancy and fancier cars, and happy and happier families.

Yet how many times have things worked out well in spite of our choices?  How many times have we reasoned our way through a situation, and then confidently made a decision that is totally wrong – and lived to tell about it?

Once, I really wanted to buy a newspaper in East Texas, only to find out after the deal fell apart that the seller was a crook – I would have been wiped out.

And there was the girl I would have married if she had been agreeable (she wasn’t, and she was loud about it) – looking back on it, she had Courtney Love written all over her.

There was the time I accepted a job with a local real estate developer several months prior to getting my MBA.  Then a month before graduation, I tried to call my new employer, only to find that the company’s phone had been disconnected, along with my new career.

The list of bad decisions goes on and on – and yet here I am, not much worse (and maybe better) for the wear, as far as I can tell.

Time after time over the years, I’ve done everything but put a rope around my neck and fasten the other end to a speeding SUV.  And time after time, a power greater than me has clipped the rope just as the SUV gets it in gear, leaving me convinced I’m a genius for fashioning a new necktie.

Lots of things happen in life, and the reasons why aren’t always apparent.  But there is a reason, I think, for most everything, and our job isn’t so much to analyze the whys and wherefores as it is to figure out where we fit in the puzzle and to do our best to make a difference – regardless of how the ball is bouncing.

So that’s what I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving – that somehow, some way, in spite of my better efforts, I have a whole lot to be thankful for.

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