I think it's a requirement for denizens of cyberspace to write a "I Am Thankful For..." posting on Thanksgiving Day. Being full of Catholic Guilt and German by ancestry, I'm naturally good at following the rules, so of course I'm going to oblige. I have to tell you though, before I start, that my fingers really are not cooperating at their usual efficiency this morning, which is making the process so much tougher.
Anyway, here is what I am thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day, 2008, listed more or less in order:
- My Family, Especially My Children - Having children is both a blessing and, at times, a curse. The curse part comes around when they force you to think about yourself in ways that you probably would normally prefer not to...a painful experience, but most growth, in my experience, comes at the expense of pain. I am truly blessed in that I have three daughters who are smart, healthy, who make me proud AND who challenge me in so many ways to be a better person.
- My Physical Health - One of the reasons why I am a fanatic about reading and paying attention to current events is that nothing helps you appreciate and place yourself in the context of reality than seeing just how much suffering there really is in this world around you. As bad as our small lives may become, there is always someone who has a burden that is far worse. So too with me, while I wish I could lose some weight, within the greater context of things I am very thankful that I am generally very healthy. The fact that I can see my roses bloom, smell the lilacs in the spring, and feel the cool air of Fall is truly a gift worthy of Thanks.
- My Friends - Friendship is something that is somewhat difficult for me to discuss. I really don't have that many close friends that I can, for example, "hang out" with. What's more, I have my own self-imposed rule when it comes to talking about other adults in this (or any other) blog...unless they are a public person, I generally don't refer to them by name or title. I have that rule because, in part, I don't think it's fair to talk about someone in a venue that any anyone in the world can reach without first giving them "editing" rights, and the very nature of a blog is that I would never give editing rights to anyone but myself. [Darn, this is a hell of a windup, is it not?]. Anyway, I am thankful for those who I do call friend, especially that rare individual that I actually may come to with a question or a problem and who always seem to be there for me. You know who you are, and I can never do enough to thank you for understanding and caring about me.
- My Mental Health - Being wheelchair bound would be difficult, but I don't think it's as difficult has having the use of your legs but not having a mind that was capable of appreciating that use. I hope that sentence made some sense. What I'm trying to say is that I am very Thankful for good mental health. As I've written about before, I've had to deal with members of my extended family who have struggled with mental health issues, so I do my best to use that as leverage to always work on improving my own mental health. The fact that I know my own mental health is in my own control is a real blessing.
- My Country - There is no better place on Earth to live than the United States of America. The US is the land of "Big": Big Mistakes, Big Victories, Big Problems, Big Solutions. This is the place that institutionalized slavery on one hand but then gave birth to Jazz on the other. Here I can be anything I choose to be, as much or as little, as rich or as poor.
- My Career - I am Thankful for having a job and a career that provides for my needs and the needs of my family and which also continues to challenge and frustrate me, even 20 into the gig. My job sometimes forces me into places where I'd rather not go, figuratively speaking, but that also helps me grow in ways that wouldn't otherwise come naturally. Sometimes I'll be walking down the big first floor hallway of our building and I'll think to myself, "you are supposed to be here".