Whichever blessing you share with your guests, it’s bound to contain words similar to the following: “Bless those who are here and those who are in our hearts, and all those who are not as fortunate on this day.”
That’s the dual nature of Thanksgiving. One the one hand, we are thankful for all the blessings and the good things in our lives. And on the other hand, we pray for those among us who are not going through such good times.
For example, those who are suffering through illness or who have suffered a loss.
We have all been there. The first Thanksgiving after a loved one has passed can be difficult; an empty chair at a dinner table has never been as empty as when a loved one is not there to fill it.
Sometimes the seat is filled, but illness casts a pall over the dinner. Or perhaps the worry is not about an illness, but something else. Perhaps there are financial worries, or worries about school or work or any other number of things that can wear a family down.
If you can sit down to eat dinner this Thanksgiving without any of those worries, then you are right to count your blessings.
This year I will be thinking about some dear friends who have troubles of their own. I’ve known Mike and Sandy Bilski for quite a long time. They live just on the other side of the park in Glendale, but they’ve found time to participate in events right here in Woodhaven over the years.
Apart from being active in the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) and DAV (Disabled American Veterans), Mike and Sandy are very involved with the East Coast Car Association, which runs frequent car shows in Forest Park.
Every year, they collect donations of toys and lead a massive classic car and motorcycle run from Forest Park to St. Mary's Healthcare System for Children in Bayside.
We’ve been fortunate to go along on a few of these rides. To see the looks on these children’s faces when they receive a present is priceless.
In addition to the Toys for Tots program, the East Coast Car Association also raises money throughout the year for St. Mary’s, donations that have now topped over $200,000.
Mike and Sandy have been a big part of that charitable work for many years, but now they find themselves in need of prayers and a miracle this Thanksgiving.
Sandy’s kidneys have been failing and she has been undergoing dialysis, which she will need to continue to do for the rest of her life. It’s a grueling process that some days leaves her drained and exhausted. But no matter how tired she gets, Sandy is never without a smile on her face.
For his part, Mike is doing everything he can to try and save his wife’s life. They are hopeful that somewhere out there, someone would consider donating a kidney to Sandy.
And to help in that search, Mike has placed the necessary information on the back of his vehicle and drives all over New York City hoping for that miracle.
Sandy’s blood type is B-positive, but she can also accept Type O. If you are reading this article online, please help Mike and Sandy find their Thanksgiving miracle and share it on social media, share it with your friends.
And if you know of anyone that can help, please have them call Mike and Sandy at (917) 607-3961.
This Thanksgiving, keep Mike and Sandy and all of the other persons out there whose health issues weigh heavily on them as we all count our blessings.
And keep in mind that old expression, “There but for the grace of God, go I,” for we all know how fickle life can be. It doesn’t take much of a twist of fate to go from being grateful that everything is good to needing a Thanksgiving miracle of your own.
All the better reason to be thankful and grateful and help out your friends and neighbors whenever you can.