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“Do you want me to tell you something really subversive? Love is everything it’s cracked up to be. That’s why people are so cynical about it. It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.” E Jung

In recent polls (and who doesn’t trust polling!), Thanksgiving is now considered the favorite family holiday in the United States. It certainly is a wonderful time away from work, enjoying good food, viewing football, and taking inventory of the many blessings in life. It’s also potentially an extraordinary opportunity to really grow closer with family and friends. The key, though, is to risk love.

In newsletters and facebook posts, I often share personal blessings (like the birth of our little Grace two weeks ago!) and personal tragedies (like losing my Godfather to cancer last week). The response from you, my readers, always humbles me. You respond with your stories of your blessings (like new births, jobs, beginnings, relationships, and renewed faith.) You also confide your tragedies (like the pain of unemployment, loneliness, cancer, broken relationships and death.) It’s very much an open, two-way conversation that I value, consider sacred and for which I am grateful.

After my last two newsletters I received dozens of responses from readers like you. Thanking me for the encouragement because this time of year was difficult for them. They shared that this is the first year without their mother, spouse, friend or child. Most shared that the greatest pain wasn’t the things they weren’t going to do together this year, it was the things they wish they had done in years past.

The real pain was regret.

The regret of too little time together, too many stupid fights, too few life-giving conversations, too few times sharing how much they loved the other. Ultimately, we long for the peace that comes with knowing that our family member or friend knew how much we loved them.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and families will be brought together around the United States. The turkey will be coming out of the oven soon. The football games will be blaring in the background. The kids will be running around. What will be your conversations with the people who mean the most in your life?

I encourage you to breathe fresh life into the holiday – and those you’re with – by risking love! Have the conversations with family members and friends that you’d regret not having if they weren’t with you the following year. Tell them the things that are on your heart and will make them blush with joy! Tell them you love them (yes, awkward telling family and friends these words, but they are more starved for it than they are for dried out turkey!). Tell them why you are grateful for them! Share with them some of your favorite memories of them!

My friends, we can spend our Thanksgiving in trivial conversations. We can ask critical questions like, “what’s the score?” or the ever important, “is it still cooking?” or the annual question “why is he coming again this year!”?

Or you can choose to go deeper. You can make it a holiday of no regrets.

You see, over the last several weeks I’ve heard several beautiful eulogies delivered at funerals for people I loved. My only regret is that I didn’t eulogize them while they were still living. My Thanksgiving wish for you in 2011 is that you have the courage to have those conversations. Just do it!

Risk Love. Count your blessings. And wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving.

John O’Leary

PS: After last month’s newsletter over 400 people joined the movement to Ignite Life Today….Have you? Why not begin authoring a legacy of significance today! Join us at www.IgniteLifeToday.com It’s a powerful 21 week program that can transform you from where you are today into what’s possible for tomorrow. The best is yet to come!

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