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I had a great Thanksgiving. Even better was the next day when I could make a turkey sandwich. I asked one of the priests in the house if there was anything left over. He told me that there was still a whole turkey in the refrigerator. There it was wrapped in tin foil, so I placed it on the table and unveiled the foil and found a carcass. It was stripped to the bone. Our “eating machine” seminarians had gotten to it.

I mention this because some things are just out of our control. Sometimes situations are just out of our hands, and we cannot do anything about them. But there are some things we can control. So I went on YouTube and typed “How to cook turkey soup.” I made soup and turned a “disaster” into something tasty everyone enjoyed.

In life, we encounter things that are out of our control–weather, flu season, and bad people. Jesus even tells the crowd that we cannot control a thief. He is going to rob. What we can do is be vigilant; we can stop the robbery.

On Thanksgiving morning at 5:00 am, four of us jogged to the Harvard football stadium and descended the stairs. We ran up 37 rows of seats. When we were done, the sun was rising, and we took a selfie. We all looked very happy because we had done something challenging for the first time. You have to wonder why we didn’t sleep late on a holiday. No, we climbed the stairs because we could. God gave us strong legs, healthy hearts, and extra calories to burn.

My father is 90 years old and works full time–not behind a desk in front of a computer. He hangs heavy metal doors and builds wooden stairs. Many of his friends ask him why he does not retire. My father tells them, “Because I can–it gives me energy, I get to be productive every day, I enjoy being with other workers, and it helps me to keep using my mind.”

 Before I ran the marathon, there were days that I didn’t think I could run one. Now I get to spend the rest of my life knowing I did.

We can get upset over the things we cannot control, or we can focus our energy on the things we can control. It is this option that will always fulfill us.

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