Even though we seem to be in a continuous state of stress and fiscal upheaval, and the mere thought of the holidays being upon us could be enough to send some of us over the edge, we need to take a step back for a moment and think about all that we do still have.

You hear the stories in the news almost every day: More and more families are tightening their belts, doing without, and making their dollars stretch farther than they’ve had to in decades. We’re living in stressful, difficult times.


The economic recession we’re experiencing (or may soon be experiencing, depending on which experts you listen to) is hitting everyone where it hurts. People are losing their jobs, their homes and their livelihoods in alarming numbers. Times are tough all over and people are scared. You can feel it in the air. It’s that real.


Even though we seem to be in a continuous state of stress and fiscal upheaval, and the mere thought of the holidays being upon us could be enough to send some of us over the edge, we need to take a step back for a moment and think about all that we do still have. In doing that, we may be able to remind ourselves that there are many out there, more than ever, in fact, who are in greater need than ourselves.


Like so many of our neighbors, my husband and I sit with a pile of bills in front of us, wondering how, or if, we’ll be able to manage them. We worry about our jobs, and question whether or not we’ll still be employed in a year, or in six months, or in six weeks. We try not to dwell on it, but the possibility of one of us getting laid off hangs in the air like an unwelcome guest – ever-present. 


Job security is a thing of the past, and like everyone else, we can only hope and pray that we’ll be able to keep our heads down and plow through, and come out the other side of this recession still gainfully employed and with a roof over our heads. Others have not been so lucky.


We know that despite the fact that we can’t paint the house this year, or replace some of the countless things in our home that need replacing, we still have many blessings and have been lucky so far.


We look around at our friends and people we know and we count our blessings, as they experience foreclosure, bankruptcy, job loss, even divorce. And we count our lucky stars. Things may be bad, but they could be worse. For too many, they already are.


With the Thanksgiving holiday just around the corner, and Christmas right behind it, let’s think for a moment not about all that we don’t or can’t have this year. Let’s think about those around us who have less.


Food pantries are desperate for donations because there are so many more in need now. The price of oil may be going down, finally, but it’s still out of reach for someone who’s lost their job and may not be able to heat their home, if they still have one.


Let’s all count our blessings this year, and do what we can for our neighbors who need help. Things may seem pretty bad for a lot of us, but there still are those who’ve been hit much worse.


We should celebrate Thanksgiving by actually giving, and by being as generous as we can when donating to help those who need it, whether it’s with food or clothing or time. Or with money if we can swing it, because some day it could very well be one of us who finds ourselves in their shoes.


Let’s give of ourselves this year.


Ann Luongo is the assistant editor of special sections/real estate. She likes to read, write and blog, and she loves living in Plymouth, Mass. You can e-mail Ann at aluongo@cnc.com.