Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gratitude is the Attitude

It may be a a little premature and, in light of the year some of us have already had and the forecast of challenging times yet ahead, perhaps presumptuous, but all the best to you and yours as the holiday season begins in earnest.

We can lose sight of the blessings for which to be grateful as events blur as they rush one into the other with tomorrow, Thanksgiving, chased by Black Friday mall sales that start in the middle of the night, followed by Friday afternoons's Light Up of City Hall with next weekend's 16th Annual Winter Festival as seasonal celebrations intensify and temperatures drop.

Instead of enjoying a moment to appreciate the gifts of hearth and home that we have, we sometimes look to the lives of the famous and fortunate and yearn for that which we don't have. The ringing of the kettle collection bell, this year earlier than I can ever recall, doesn't cause us to count our change along with our blessings so much as to worry about for whom the bell tolls and when it might be ringing for us. We should be cautious, but not fearful.

We have much to be thankful for as a city. We have hundreds of volunteers not just for the lighting of City Hall and the Winter Festival Parade but as coaches in youth sports, advisors for after-school activities, members of boards and committees involved in nearly every aspect of our municipality. Each of us has a neighbor who has a community project and each one of our neighbors can say the same.

We have professional emergency medical services and own our own public utility. We have teachers and schools the envy of cities ten times our size, a community college that calls Norwich home, a spectacular public park and a location between Boston and New York, straddling two popular casinos in the middle of Mystic Coast and Country here in the Northeast Corridor like few other places.

We're not yet a city that's turned the corner, but we're getting there with every new participant in a neighborhood watch, every new small business that opens and every time someone new moves into one of our neighborhoods. Norwich in years past waited for the world-now we are preparing to meet the world, to be more active and engaged with it and one another than we have in decades.

There are challenges ahead and not the easiest of times awaiting us. But we should be thankful we have one another and are developing the confidence to live out loud. Don't mourn what we've missed, celebrate what's yet to be. To those whom much is given, much is expected-and we should expect much more from our city and from ourselves, not just this holiday but everyday.
-bill kenny

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