I had an odd thought recently.
I wondered if Thanksgiving wasn't in actuality an incredibly smug holiday. Leaving aside the feel-good story of the first Thanksgiving, and all its worrisome aspects, wasn't there something just a little unpleasantly self-satisfied about saying how thankful one was for whatever great or small riches one might have? Was that something I wanted to do, I wondered, when this world is full of people who have nothing, nothing at all, for which to be thankful? Wasn't my being thankful for my life just rubbing my luck in the metaphorical faces of those people?
I don't think I would have had that thought a few years ago. I think this past year has tired me physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I know that the world has always had too much of hell in it - I've always known that, I am no naif - but this year seemed particularly awful, with hate, fear, and ignorance nurturing every bloody proclivity toward barbarism that we humans have, and smothering all of our tendencies toward love and grace.
As I said, an odd thought. A weird one.
But I decided that I was looking at it all wrong, that I was allowing my spiritual weariness to curdle into cynicism and hopelessness. Like the boy whose heart bore a shard of the Snow Queen's shattered mirror, which turned his every thought to darkness, I was looking at the holiday with the hard, half-blind eyes of the hopeless soul. I was a fool to do so, when I was surrounded by so much for which to be thankful.
Being grateful for the people who I love, and who love me, isn't being selfish or self-satisfied. Being thankful that I have a little home that I love; that I have a job which still, amazingly, means something to me; that I have medical help to wield against the physical and mental illnesses I scuffle with; that I can still write about things I love; that I have Bob and Andy in my life; that I know all of you, my online friends and acquaintances - none of that is wrong.
Let me now try to work on behalf of people who have less than I have. Let me try to pass on the love with which I am graced. Let me try to help others into a life for which they can be thankful.
Thank you all, for being who you are, and for being in my life.
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