I have a Facebook acquaintance, a fellow graduate of St. John’s College, who posts five things she is thankful for every morning. I admire this and am always glad when I bump into her daily post on those mornings that I’m on Facebook as well. It is a practice that I have told myself many times that I need to develop, but have so far have failed to do.
But as we approach the best holiday of the year, let me instead list–as I annually do–a few of the things that I am thankful for on this Tuesday of Thanksgiving week. (In case you didn’t know, Thanksgiving beats the crap out of Christmas, Halloween, birthdays, the Fourth of July, and every other holiday that gets more hype and promotion). In no particular order, here are some things I am thankful for.
I am thankful that I work in a profession that I love, a profession that is a vocation rather than a job, something that I believe I was born to do. I am particularly thankful that this semester is almost over. I have been involved with two large campus-wide initiatives, one of which is still in full swing, that have reminded me that I’m not a young person any more. But remembering how difficult the past two pandemic-shaped academic years have been, just being on campus in person without masks with my students makes the negatives pale in comparison.
I am thankful that my favorite sports season–college basketball–is now underway. Last year’s Providence College Friars season, which included a league regular season championship and a trip to the Sweet Sixteen in the national tournament, was one for the ages. Because hope always springs eternal, my expectation is that this year’s team will be even better.
I am thankful that two weeks ago those who voted in the midterm elections sent a clear message to anyone who might be listening: We sort of like democracy, we are tired of extremism, we don’t like it when established rights are taken away from us, and we are able to weigh the importance and value of more than one thing simultaneously. Imagine that–the American electorate can walk and chew gum at the same time.
I am so thankful for Bovina, our slightly-over-a-year old Corgi who has brightened and brought joy to our lives ever since we transported her in an eighteen-hour straight drive from Atlanta to Providence a year ago. What was life like in this house before you showed up and took over? Someone asked me recently what the adjustment period was like for Bovina when she came to our house. My answer was “there was no adjustment period. She walked in and took over.” I am also thankful for the patience my social media friends have shown with my obsessive posting of pictures of and stories about our canine daughter.
I am thankful for this blog which has, for more than ten years, provided me with a space to track an ongoing spiritual awakening that is as welcome as it was unexpected. Writing is my central spiritual practice, and blogging ensures that I do it regularly. Thanks to all who have been regular or occasional readers. I started with a few dozen readers per month—I never anticipated that eventually thousands of people would visit this site monthly. Thank you for your comments and discussion participation, even when it is somewhat less than complimentary. It keeps me humble and on my toes!
I am thankful for my sons Caleb and Justin, as well as my daughter-in-law Alisha, who make me proud every day. My sons are direct evidence of the resilience of human beings. Both of them overcame my well-intentioned but often flawed attempts at parenting and became excellent human beings in spite of it all.
I reserve my greatest thanks for the gift that came to me exactly thirty-five years ago. On the day before Thanksgiving 1987 (November 25–Thanksgiving was late that year) my sons and I met the person who would change our lives. I still can’t believe I got the little red-haired girl!
I am thankful that we will be spending the holiday with Jeanne’s family on Long Island. It’s been a tough year or so for her family–two of her brothers passed in the last fourteen months. I are grateful for the opportunity to celebrate Thanksgivng with a family that has shown me nothing but acceptance and love over the past many years (even though I am a Boston sports fan).
Wherever you are and whatever you are doing this week, take a moment to be thankful for those people and circumstances who make your life better than you could have imagined it would be. Happy Thanksgiving!