originally published in THE PENN

Marching 7/4 written by Lori Ferguson
Issue date: 11/8/04 Section: Opinion

Today, I meditate upon what I’m am thankful for — not out of Thanksgiving tradition, but to share the glow within me on this glorious fall day.I also want to have this record for me to pause and reflect upon when I come across days on which I may not feel as wonderful as I do today, to help renew my hope for life.I am grateful for the sheer fact that I am alive to even write these words and have these emotions. Just the fact that I am breathing, by my own power, should be cause for celebration! We often take our existence for granted, too wrapped up in our problems and worries to even realize how lucky we are that we are here for another day.Despite multiple health issues, I am grateful for these rare days on which I suffer very little pain and have energy coursing through me. I am fortunate in not having cancer, HIV or other serious illnesses.I am grateful that I receive proper medical care, for the doctors, hospitals, medical tests and medicines that I’ve become accustomed to as my “right” as a human being, rights that are denied to many the world over, as a result of poverty, inaccessibility, or a lack of technology and trained staff.I am thankful that I am living my life as a citizen of the United States of America, a land that allows me the freedom of speech to write these words and share them with you. I am grateful that women in this country are allowed to speak their minds and pursue careers outside the home, where in other cultures women must be silent and have little other function beyond wife, mother and daughter.I am thankful that the election is finally over, so we can pull together and begin to heal as a unified nation. I appreciate our ability, as Americans, to make our voices heard through our voting power and our opportunities to serve as political leaders ourselves. We often forget how privileged we are to live under a government like the one set up by the Constitution.I am grateful for the opportunity to receive higher education, for many do not even possess the ability to read, write or do simple math.I am grateful for teachers that love their craft and are filled with the desire to educate us in what they know. I am thankful for fellow students whose drive to learn and achieve inspires me with their determined focus on becoming the best people they can be.I am grateful for the clothes on my back, the roof over my head, the food in my stomach, the drink quenching my thirst and for modern conveniences such as indoor plumbing and electricity — and my computer.This is surely not an all-inclusive list, for I do not have adequate space to share all my praises, but did I remember to include my joy in each successive breath I take?