By: Jeff Head, November 23, 2000
To my wife, Gail; to my children Katie, Rachel, Becki, Jeff and Jared; to my parents, Lee and Georgia Head; to my brothers Lee, Greg and Paul Head and to their families and friends; and to all of my other relatives, friends and neighbors:
On this Thanksgiving, first and foremost, I am thankful to and for my God, who has given me life and my free will. I am thankful to and for His Son, Jesus Christ, my Savior. He has marked the path and showed the way regarding how to live my life and use my free will in such a way as to further His plan of salvation, enrich others, and to overcome my own weaknesses and mistakes if I will but accept His atonement, repent of those failings, and strive to live as He would live. In doing this, over, and over, and over gain, continually striving to improve as I go, and picking myself up again when I fall, always holding that bright hope before me, I know that I will ultimately hear the one phrase which will make all else worth while in the end, “Well done thou good and faithful servant”. Therefore, I am eternally grateful, beyond words for His sacrifice on my behalf to make this possible, and for His Father’s, my Father in Heaven’s, willingness to suffer His Son to go through what it took in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross on our behalf.
Beyond this, I am grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ, which establishes a pattern for life which, if freely accepted and lived, strengthens and liberates all those who are faithful in following it, be they individuals, families, groups, societies or cultures. I am thankful for the very essence of it, which is to love God with all one’s heart, might and mind, to love one’s neighbors as one’s self and to promote and live moral and virtuous lives, to stand up for what is right, to un-ashamedly proclaim it, and to have patience with those seeking to find and learn of it, from where ever they may come.
Second, I am grateful for my wife, Gail and our 22 ½ years together for better, for worse, in sickness and in health, for poorer, for richer, in hard times, in good times, in happy times, in sad times, and in the many joyous times which are meant to stretch for all time and eternity before us. I am grateful for what she has meant, and does mean to me through it all, and as a result of it all. I am thankful beyond measure for what she has gone through in bearing each of our five children and the critical role she has played in rearing them. I am thankful for her efforts, her patience, for her extolling me, persuading me and helping me through my own weaknesses and hard times as well as her own. I am thankful for her recognizing the prompting of the spirit of God in our courtship which led to our marriage and for that same recognition countless times since. I am grateful for her brightness, her creativity, her loving heart and sharing soul … I am thankful beyond measure to God and to her that she is my wife and companion through life, including whatever hardships, shortcomings, misunderstandings and difficulties which have arisen, or may yet arise. Of such adversity is born strength and a greater appreciation for the good times and joy we are also blessed to live through.
Third, I am thankful for and to my five children, Katie, Rachel, Becki, Jeff and Jared and all they have taught me about life, true sacrifice and commitment, humility and learning. I am thankful to have been there for each of their births and before that, through their pregnancies where I experienced for myself the miracle of life in the womb, and saw, felt and experienced first hand their individuality, awareness, sensitivities and life ere they were born into this world. I am grateful for the fuller, firmer understanding of, and commitment to, life and liberty those experiences have given me. I am thankful to have watched each grow and experience both joy and trial through their schooling, through fights with school boards and over school text books, through cheerleading, gymnastics, karate, volleyball, track, football, baseball, basketball, boyfriends, girlfriends, proms, church dances, learning and performing with various musical instruments (piano, recorder, flute, violin, trumpet, guitar and any others I may have missed), heartbreaks, betrayals of friends, the joy of good and true friends, court ships, the marriage of our oldest; and, in essence, the trials, tribulations, joys and comfort of seeing them each grow, learn and experience life for themselves. Such a rich measure of gratitude and thankfulness can only be appreciated by experiencing it in all of its rich abundance.
Next, I am thankful for and to my parents. They nurtured and raised me in an environment and in such a way so as to open my eyes, enrich my understanding and to put me in a position to feel this gratitude and recognize the blessings around me, regardless of whatever adversity. They are dedicated patriots to our constitutional Republic and worthy and committed followers of Jesus Christ, and they have striven to raise their children to do likewise. They are the type of people that are the bedrock foundation of our nation and I thank God each and every day for them, irrespective of whatever minor failings they may have. They have been, and continue to be, true, life long, … no, they are eternal friends, whom I could never fully repay for the gifts they have given to me or the loyalty they have shown to me. I can only hope to pass such on to my loved ones. May God bless their names and their lives now, and their memories in the future for all they have done for me and each of their children. Though, like most, I did not appreciate what they did, experienced, put up with, suffered or travailed with while I was growing up and maturing, yet, I certainly was reared in such a way to allow me to be in a position to appreciate it when my time came. If I can do half as well as they did, and teach my children to do twice as well as I am doing … then I am content knowing that my children will be among the most productive and worthwhile people I know, because my parents certainly are.
Next, I am thankful for my brothers Lee, Greg and Paul. We were four boys raised out in the country and we certainly had our share of experiences and difficulties, and as we continue to experience life, as most people, we continue to learn lessons, some painful … yet I know of three solid men I can depend on, whatever else may come, who will support me and give me their best advise … even if I sometimes don’t want to hear it. But, this is the mark of true friends who set their friend’s, and in this case their brother’s, interest and well being over what might “feel good” at the moment and say and do what needs saying and doing. I am thankful to my brothers for the many examples they have given me, among others, to my oldest brother for his great success in business and steadiness in raising four children of his own and in his own commitment to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ; to my second oldest brother for his willingness to this day to help those he sees in need of help and to literally give them the shirt off his back if required, and to do strive to do so in the midst of great adversity and personal hardship and travail; and, to my younger brother for his ability and desire to bounce back from tremendous adversity and hardship and to keep his eye on the mark and the important goals while doing so, such that in the end, despite the adversity, he has come off the winner in the eyes of God and those who love him.
Next, I am grateful to and for my ancestors, whose commitment to these same principles have flowed down through the years, and through the blood, and put me in a position to benefit if I will but grasp that opportunity. I am grateful in particular for both sets of my grandparents. They were different in many ways and they came from different backgrounds and cultures, yet all four focused their lives on the same critical goals and taught their children, and their grandchildren, to honor and be committed to God, family and country … particularly this country, the United States of America. As a result of their bloodlines, and the commitment of those who were a part of it, I am honored to be a Son of the American Revolution. I cannot speak of these loved ones who went before without feeling the deepest respect and admiration for their lives and what they wrought. In particular I must send my fondest and most respectful thoughts and wishes to my paternal grandmother, Jewel Darden Head, who was among the most genteel, wise, and steady woman I have ever known and whose patience and commitment to moral principle and virtue blessed all those with whom she came in contact. I am privileged to have known her well and spent some time with her after I reached adulthood and my other grandparents were already beyond this veil, and to have come to know her and take council from her during those, what turned out to be, all too brief visits. I bid her a fond greeting across the veil and though I do not seek to hasten it, yet I look forward to the time when I can be reunited with her and all of my ancestors on the other side of “Jordan” when my time comes to “cross over” … as it will surely come to us all.
I cannot make such a statement of thankfulness without mentioning the third part of the great triad of Thanksgiving, Country. I am thankful beyond measure to live in a land blessed with the foundational principles of true liberty. Liberty which is based on the absolute recognition of God’s hand, the Creator, in giving us the unalienable rights of life, liberty and free will that serve as the bedrock for this nation. These rights do not derive from any man-made institution, they derive from God. I am thankful for the wise, enlightened patriots who enumerated this to us in the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the original Bill of Rights. I am thankful for the words and actions of Patrick Henry, George Washington, Nathaniel Hale, John Paul Jones, Paul Revere, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams, John Adams, “Light Horse” Harry Lee and the countless others who set the example and showed through their very life’s deeds how to defend and maintain our liberties. I urge all to read of and understand them, and to read the words and works these men enumerated. I am grateful again for parents who taught me of these things and allowed me to come to an understanding of what Liberty and our nation’s basis and foundation are all about. I am grateful for those original patriots who not only enumerated it, but taught us that those foundational principles were worth fighting for, and sacrificing our very life for to establish and maintain if necessary.
I believe with all my heart that these things, though the details may be somewhat different today, are the same principles upon which our founders and the
original colonists who came to this land based their Thanksgiving upon. From this, I derive simple commitments to dedicate and devote myself to the three foundational entities of
God, family and country, and to do so with the principles of virtue, duty and honor. I know, in so doing, though I am certainly imperfect and will stumble along the way, yet, I know
that in striving for it I will be a tool for enriching and bettering the lives of those whom I love … to this I am committed above all else, and for this knowledge, these individuals, these
principles … I am thankful on this Thanksgiving day.
I am grateful and thankful that a measure of this understanding is still alive in this land today. Though it has been (and is being) severally tested and strained, yet the knowledge and recognition is alive and growing amidst the adversity and designs of those who would destroy it. I pray we are all equal to the task, in both the every-day, sometimes mundane, commitments we must make to vigilantly vouchsafe our liberties, and in whatever more serious efforts we may be called on if necessary to maintain our liberties and our way of life for our children and generations yet unborn.
Finally, I am thankful to have been blessed beyond measure with wonderful friends. People whom the good Lord has brought along in the circle of life who have challenged me, strengthened me, supported me and, in short, befriended me. They are too numerous to mention by name, but I am amazed at the richness of their associations and the impact simple virtue and honor can have, not only on those relationships, but by extrapolation, on the life’s of so many other’s as we each go on in the circle of life and share the results of those interactions and associations.