Much of our history has been romanticized. As decades and now centuries pass, it’s easy to reminisce in ways that affirm our current biases and undergird our present cultural idealized values. The truth is, our history is a messy mix of good and bad, justice and injustice, civility and brutality, giving and taking, healing and harming. The people whose memories we invoke—Pilgrims, Native Americans, founding fathers, Popes, kings, Caesars…even the holy family—had good days and bad days. They did honorable deeds and dishonorable deeds. They worked for the good of humanity and often slipped into self-interests. We are no different. We truly aren’t. With all of this in mind, we could ‘write off’ any holiday on our calendar. Every holiday’s history is a messy mix of truth and myth…the sacred and the unscrupulous…the holy and the heathen. Fully aware of this reality, I’m going to choose to celebrate Thanksgiving.
For me, Thanksgiving is a time to pause and express gratitude for my life and all that is in it—ALL that is in it—the blessings and the challenges. I’m grateful for the people in my life—those kin to me by blood or choice, those who love me, those who push me, those who annoy me (no one you would know), those who work with me, those who work against me, and those who are momentary acquaintances. It’s a wonderful messy group of people who have helped shape my life, character and vocation. I’m grateful for my health. I’m grateful for the fabric and rhythm of my life. I’m grateful for gifts and talents—both mine and others—that bring joy and insight to my life. I’m grateful for a few ‘things’ that bring me moments of delight: Nestlé Nesquik ®, sugar-free dark chocolate almonds from The Fresh Market, homemade dark chocolate candy with cayenne pepper (thought I’d get all the chocolate out of the way first), books, pencils (I like pencils better than pens), morning coffee, a deck of cards, button down oxfords and hoodies, The Office, and chili.
I hope you’ll pause a moment—in the messiness of our history and in the messiness of your life—and just be grateful…