I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with Thanksgiving. On one side, as many do, I have an issue with celebrating part of one of the dark parts of human history in the European decimation of Native America. But on the flipside, I have warm associations with Thanksgiving. It was usually the holiday my family celebrated the most. I remember visits to my grandma’s tiny two-bedroom house (my uncle lived with her), and twenty, twenty-five people cramming in–none of it planned, all spontaneous, just, everyone decided to drive over to Grandma’s and bring something to eat. I remember watching football with my brother, or later, my friends. I remember that there was always an element of reflection and thoughtfulness involved, as our culture encouraged you to take a brief moment to consider whatever good fortune you had.
The trick now, of course, is that I’m not thankful. The word “thanks” implies that I’m thankful to someone, to a power bigger than me who gave me everything I have, and I don’t believe in such a being. But I’m certainly grateful for so many things. Perhaps I’m mincing words, but the distinction has a redemptive power for me in my process of reconstructing my worldview post-God.
So I want to take a minute to do what millions of other bloggers are doing today and share what I’m
thankful grateful for:
- I am grateful for my friends. My sanity, my strength, my joy–I am where I am because of you.
- I am grateful for my family. I am fortunate that the people I was born into love me and look out for me. A mother who has been the model of unconditional love and maternal sacrifice, a sister who has been my biggest cheerleader, a brother who somehow manages to look up to me despite my screw-ups (and who has been taller than me most of our lives), and a brother to whom (I am confident) I will one day be restored.
- I am grateful for the state of Minnesota. I may pick on you for your (in my view) weird culture sometimes, but so many of the good things in my life have come as a direct result of living here. Whether the grad-school gods keep me here or take me elsewhere, this great place will always occupy a sizable part of my heart. Donchano.
- I am grateful that I am always warm and well-fed. Three-and-a-half years ago, I was dangerously close to becoming homeless. A bit of determination and a lot of luck kept me from that fate. There are few things I want more than to save every man, woman, and child across the world from that same fate. I work for a world where we will do that. And I remember every day that I am fortunate to have what I have.
- I am grateful for music. It is my heartbeat, almost literally, as there is always a song in my head. I am grateful that I know how to sing and can play a few musical instruments, so that, in my awkward little way, I can share this most wonderful of human creations.
- I am grateful for art. I am grateful for the artists who train and work tirelessly, often with little real reward, to share the most intimate parts of their minds and hearts with the world.
- I am grateful for literature. I am grateful for every book that is on my shelf and the million more that are not. I marvel at the infinite power of the written word, and am humbled by the fact that I’ve had a little bit of training to wield this tool.
- I am grateful for every second I have to be alive.