This is the time of the year when we all should reflect on what is important
to us and why. With the recent events surrounding September 11, it is easy
to forget that life offers us all much to be thankful for--even in the midst
With that said, I will reflect on what is important, what I am grateful for.
My loving mother--who was also a father--is the brightest light in my life.
I am proud of her even more these days for letting the ultimate compassion
into her life. She now is a vegan and an animal activist. Believe me, I
never thought this would be her direction, for this is the same woman who
said I would "die of malnutrition" when, at age eleven, I announced that I
was no longer eating animals. I feel that we have reached a greater
connection now--she truly understands me.
When I was in high school, we almost lost my brother in a severe car
accident. Thankfully the passenger's Boy Scout training saved my brother's
life when he constructed a makeshift tourniquet. The car was a crumpled heap
and the jaws of life were used to get my brother out safely. Even during our
usual quarrels, I am grateful that he is alive and well.
This may sound cliché, but I also am grateful for my partner, the person
with whom I share my life. While not a vegan, he is continuously supportive
of my vegan--and animal-activist--related activities. Last year he drove me
around while I campaigned for the greyhounds. He even convinced many of his
conservative friends to vote for the dogs! I am thankful to him for sticking
up for me during uncomfortable situations and for trying anything I cook
(except for Brussels sprouts and lima beans). He truly is a gem.
I also am grateful for the many individuals who tirelessly work to give
animals a much-needed voice. Animal activists and volunteers are so
incredibly important. I have been through the successes and failures of
animal causes and just when I feel like giving up, someone is out there
inspiring me to continue. Thanks to all of you who fight the good fight.
For those who were affected by September 11, remember that good things will
carry you through the bad. Even in this world of recent devastation and
uncertainty, we all can be grateful for someone or something.
e x t e s s a y -
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by Jo Stepaniak All rights reserved.
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