While it’s Thanksgiving in America, it’s mourning in New Zealand. For me, the two are connected.

Traveling across the world on holiday, I’ve been at quite a distance from the U.S. and enjoying not only wonderful time with family and friends but the important global perspective a journalist needs to stay tuned to human realities, both changing and enduring.

While abroad, the tragedy of yet another mine explosion happened, and I wasn’t far away. With the waiting, watching world, I hoped and prayed for the safe rescue of the New Zealand miners. The news came too suddenly that they were lost. One television commentator devoted an extraordinary portion of his news show to a direct and seemingly impromptu appeal to the authorities and the world, to learn from this disaster.

To officials of both mine company and government, it was for answers and new resolutions. But to the rest of us it was for the renewed awareness of how precious life and love are, and what a gift every moment is and please, God, not to take it for granted.

He said tragedies like the New Zealand mine disaster and the too-frequent disasters like it, and people flying airplanes into buildings and terrible events in the news remind us that we have to hug our families and hold close our loved ones and cherish life.

He’s right, of course. We know this and nod and say we must remember to do this every day. So let’s do, as best we can. Starting with today.

This is a note to self, shared for any good it might do. I have always had a grateful heart, no matter what my fair share of faults. So I give thanks for life, love, family, faith, friends….and the chance, yet again, to express it.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....