Monday, November 15, 2010

All About Me (sort of)

Not long ago I mentioned that I had a physical problem keeping me from playing tennis. I didn't play at all for over a month, then slowly resumed. I'm a ways yet from 100%. My serve, which could once be measured by a stopwatch, is down to egg timer speed. My level of play is OK, as long as you don't check the scoreboard. Oy.

In happier news, my efforts with the readers theater are finally paying off. I don't mean the pay, which is like pay, but smaller. But reading for children is fun, they forgive you when you flub something up, and some even laugh when they're supposed to. It's the best new thing I've started all year.

And I'm still in Toastmasters, though my role there has changed. Most folks join in hopes of getting a career boost from the skills they get at TM, which is fine. But I'm kind of past that stage of life, and so find myself in more of a coaching role. Even so, I get to give a couple of speeches a year, and my turn came around earlier this month.
Thankfulness/Gratitude is not a trendy virtue, nor is its holiday (Thanksgiving) a terribly big event since it's preceded by Halloween and followed by Christmas. Even so, we should look for things to be thankful for all the time. That's how I began, speaking many more words than I'm writing.
Here are some things we should be thankful for. Mother Nature smiles on us as upon few others. We live among the world's greatest trees, and within a few blocks of the world's greatest ocean and within a few minutes we can drive to some decent-sized mountains in search of a better view of the other two, It never gets over 80 degrees, and almost never gets under thirty. We get more than our share of rain, a good thing in the western US, and the earthquakes are generally modest compared to some places.
We should be thankful for the USA. Living here may not give us quite the boost over other people than it once did, but we still have things others don't: The rule of law, diversity and all that provides just to everyday life, living in a competitive society in which you can buy shoes (for example) made in many places, in many styles, and which fit almost any size. We even have competition in the political world, which prevents one side from dominating, as in many countries.
We should be thankful for faith, and the hope it offers of a life beyond this one, which in turn gives meaning to everything we do of a moral nature. It's great knowing from experience that people can change for the better. We are not the captives of our genes or personal chemistry, but have the means to make choices from which all may benefit.
Every day in every way we enjoy the fruits of the labors of others. This enjoyment is not without cost, but just knowing that we can contribute to others' lives should make our own happier. Anyway, that, including a few little jokes, was my speech thesis at Toastmasters. I hope the members liked it.


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