I have lived long enough to understand what my grandmother would say — “the longer you live, the shorter the year seems.”

We are now in the last month of 2019. Where did the year go? It seems like we just started this year and it is now all gone. Regardless, looking back on 2019 we have so much for which to be thankful.

Count your blessings and not your trials. I heard today however that regardless of your fate, God has predetermined what occurs in your life and God allows everything to happen in your life.

Even if we think something is bad, distasteful or disastrous to us, the event was predetermined or allowed to happen. Be thankful, for without some distasteful events, we would not be brought to our knees and made to turn to the Almighty.

Let us look at some of the disastrous things that have happened in 2019. Hurricane Harvey made us come closer to accepting climate change. We’re still cleaning up two years after that horrendous storm. Those who for years that have refused to listen to scientists must now take a second look at the fires, floods, unseasonable tornadoes and changes in weather and ask the question “what is going on?” Sometimes we must be forced to listen to the word of the Almighty.

We may have to be forced to be centered on a higher force rather than self-centeredness. Putting self at the center of our actions pushes out the desire to help others, have long-range vision and only look out for me and mine.

America’s current state of affairs is frightening. When one listens to the rhetoric, you would think you are in a Third World country, the voices are from two different countries or some people are under a spell without the ability for a different point of view to break through. Mob mentality is dangerous.

We should be thankful for our country and strive to follow the laws and not emotions.

In some countries freedom of speech is limited. In some countries the ability to carry a gun is prohibited. In some countries one cannot openly criticize the monarchy. Here in America we can do all of these.

However, here in America, abuse of these privileges must have boundaries. In America, no leader has absolute power. In America we live by the rule of law. In America we cannot legislate attitude, but we can legislate behavior, no matter who you are. In America “no man is above the law.” Let us be thankful.

As we say our thanks, let us not forget those who have less than we do here in America.

As we say thanks, let us not forget those separated from their loved ones, be they young or old.

As we give thanks let us open our hearts to Almighty guidance and the strength, will and ethical behavior to set a path for the new year that will lead to forgiveness, harmony and love.

Let us be thankful!

Guessippina Bonner is the Lufkin City Council Member for Ward 1. Her email address is Guessippina620@gmail.com.

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