Tag: gratitude

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Circumstances often beget creation, and so it is with this short post (my first ever) on gratitude. The events of the last months – and especially this week – virtually compel me to offer my thanks for a very worthy, uniquely deserving group. You. Preview Open

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[F]or he makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. ~Matthew 5:45b Somehow we survive on this small blue planet, we fragile bipeds vulnerable to the elements, to disease, to time, and to each other. Logically, our lot is sustained misery, ended only by a merciful death. Yet […]

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I have been reading a good book lately about how Saint Augustine dealt with the search for happiness and how he went about ordering his desires so that a person could be truly happy. That got me thinking about how I need to order my desires to keep them in balance and that got me […]

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What conservatives should know–better than any hailing from more leftward aspects of the political spectrum—is this: Politics ain’t everything. In fact, it’s not even the most important thing. If you, dear reader, are wringing your hands (as have I, at times) wondering whether life ends as we know it on November 9. “Let not your […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Gratitude: Praise the Lord, and Pass the Ammunition!

 

We see what we choose to see. No set of data forces any rational thinker to accept that one theory or explanation is incontrovertibly true and all others are incontrovertibly false. This explains how good and intelligent and wise people on Ricochet can consistently arrive at different conclusions, even though we have access to the very same data. Whether we are talking of science or of politics, there is no objective inevitability to any of our arguments.

Instead, we are left with the things that we accept as true. Most people take our assumptions and presuppositions for granted, but some people (probably a very few), can and do freely choose to see things a certain way. And here we arrive at the nub of the matter, because of all the things that we can choose to accept or deny, gratitude is both the most optional, and also the single most important for our state of mind, the state of our families and the health of our society.

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In grad school I took a class on emotions and wrote a paper for it. I have long wanted to turn it into a published paper, but haven’t yet. (One or two versions of the paper were rejected by a prestigious scholarly journal, though.) But here’s a bulleted summary of some of the interesting points from the […]

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As a chronic melancholic I measure my age by the rate of my physical decline. It’s not because I’m completely falling apart, although that’s the case for all of us. I recognize, however, that man is dust and to dust he shall return. We melacholics are realists. Over the last nine months I’ve spent most […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Group Writing, Gratitude: In the Beginning

 

shutterstock_501749167I was born a Jew—barely. My folks had escaped the burdens of family demands in Massachusetts when I was four years old, and struck out for new adventures in California. At that point, they had pretty much abandoned formal Jewish practice. I have memories of a Christmas tree in the house one year; mom said we had to choose between the tree and Hanukah—eight presents won out … going to synagogue on Yom Kippur and having the highlight be my father, deeply asleep, flying out of his seat when the rabbi spoke about the “text” (my father’s nickname was Tex) … putting up blue and white streamers and Jewish stars for Hanukah … making a minimal attempt at a seder, ensuring that dinner wasn’t too late … and studying Hebrew, which I enjoyed as an opportunity to learn a new language. It was all quaint and interesting. And I lived distant from any spiritual connection, not even knowing that something was missing.

Then opportunities to reconnect to Judaism showed up, except I didn’t notice them. In my junior year of college I had the opportunity to study abroad. I considered Germany, since I had studied German for many years. Then I noticed Israel had been added to the program a year before. Now that sounded like an adventure. I almost married an American-Israeli soldier. But I backed out. He was a sweet man, but I was too far from home and too young to make that commitment. I was intrigued by Israel, and loved it, but not enough to leave my friends and family. Still it was a great cultural experience … only a cultural experience. Another opportunity to re-connect to Judaism drifted away.

Then I married a gentile. He was perfectly happy with my practicing any way I wished, and even participated and helped me prepare. Instead of taking advantage of this opportunity to go deeper, I had no idea that there was something deeper to explore. After a couple of attempts at creating a minimal seder and a Hanukah (where we indulged in opening all our gifts in one night, at my insistence), I lost interest … and lost one more opportunity to reconnect to my faith.

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In 2002, I was out of a job. My employer closed shop in September 2001, and immediately after 9/11 no one else was hiring. By the time businesses were again hiring, I had been unemployed six months. In technology industries six months is forever. The longer I was out of work, less likely it was […]

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I had planned a high-handed essay on the psychological principles behind fear and mortality, but after a weekend of dissertation writing and small candy binge-eating, the thought of writing that was like chugging a bottle of castor oil. So let’s make this brief and genuine.  Preview Open

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November has begun, and there are still a dozen gaps in the schedule for November’s group writing on Gratitude. Why don’t you tell us about something that you’re grateful for this month? It’s a great chance to dip your toe in if you are a Ricochet member and have never started a conversation here. Dig […]

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I think we should work to turn it in a positive direction. With this contentious election, we should put our minds toward kindness, and kindnesses received from others. To that end, I’ll direct you toward November’s Group Writing topic, Gratitude. Just pick a day and write a post dealing with the topic on that day. […]

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Let’s spend some time in these last couple weeks before the election thinking about blessings, good fortune, or recognition of debts of kindness, so that as the event comes and goes and the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, we can add some perspective to the daily schedule of squabbles and recriminations. The Ricochet Group Writing theme for […]

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People make mistakes – grave mistakes, even – like the time my wife bought me some coffee grounds which weren’t Starbucks French Roast. I was hopeful: given the scale of my coffee career we’d save a lot of money over time with the brand she was steering me toward. In any event, I took one sip, […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Most Pleasant Surprise Immigrants Found in America

 

shutterstock_359673578Immigration has dominated the GOP primary campaign. So a member of Reddit asked a simple question. Immigrants to America: What was the most pleasant surprise? Nearly 13,000 comments later, here are a few of the favorites:

The road directions to go from a city to another 2,000 miles away is extremely simple. (E.g., get on I-80 exit to I-90, then exit 40.)


I’ve driven the extent of I-90 a couple times during the time I lived in Seattle. There was an indescribable, special feeling when I would use I-90 for a short trip out of Seattle in my day-to-day life and look down the road ahead and envision the 3,000 miles over mountains, plains, and cities. It was nice to have the daily reminder that it was there and all I had to do was start driving — the opposite of feeling trapped.

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Recently, I attended a fundraiser. Goodie bags were passed out at the door, and on the train ride home to New Jersey, I opened mine for a look-see. There, sandwiched between the vegan cookies and the all-day mascara, was a copy of Oprah’s What I Know For Sure, a compilation of Oprah’s magazine columns about […]

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I would like to offer a bit of encouragement to a certain segment of men. I’m uncertain how this will be received, and afraid that this encouragement may seem small or insignificant. It means something to me and so I offer it here for everyone’s consideration. It is for any man who feels envious (or negative […]

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There are good fathers and bad fathers just as there are good and bad waiters, teachers, and presidents. We even have a Presidents’ Day (actually Washington’s Birthday at the Federal level). However, it is generally understood to be a celebration of two particular presidents, not all presidents (no names, please). The notion that fathers should […]

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