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 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. So instead let me list a few of the things that I am thankful for on this day after the best day of the year. That’s right, Thanksgiving beats the shit 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 thankful that in this profession I occasionally get paid to not come to campus and teach, and that it is one of the few occupations in which I could get away with having a ponytail for the past thirteen years.
I am thankful that my favorite sports season–college basketball–is now underway. It promises to be a banner year for my Providence Friars (notice that, in the spirit of all good sports fans, they are mine), and dreams of the Sweet Sixteen or more are dancing in Friar fans’ heads. Hope always spring eternal.
I am thankful that, more often than not, Jeanne and I get to spend Thanksgiving Day with Justin, Caleb, and Alisha–this year at Caleb and Alisha’s new (at least new to Jeanne and me) place in Atlanta. I am thankful that Caleb and Alisha continue to rock the world of tattooing. Jeanne and I take full credit for Caleb’s success, since we are the ones who found the art classes and lessons for him when he was but a young punk.
Despite occasional claims to the contrary, I am thankful that our fwo four-legged daughters are in our lives. The canines and God are the topics of about 80% of Jeanne’s and my conversation. I would have nothing to talk about with an atheist dog-hater. We lost our Boston Terrier Bean this past year–I am thankful that she decided to spend many years with us.
I am thankful that my youngest son Justin landed the job he has been wanting for years, a job that makes use of his Master’s degree as well as his considerable empathy and knowledge. I’m glad that he is in a healthy relationship with a normal woman (you’d have to know his relationship history to know why this is a bell-weather moment). Justin’s birthday was last Monday; I find it highly offensive that he is now thirty-six years old (because it makes me feel old). It’s all about me, after all.
I am thankful for the spiritual awakening that has been happening with me over the past several years. Although it is usually incremental and almost unnoticeable, sometimes I feel like the patients in the Robin Williams and Robert DeNiro film “Awakenings” from a number of years back.
I am thankful that exactly thirty years tomorrow my sons and I met the person who changed our lives. After all these years, I still can’t believe that I got the little red-haired girl.
In spite of my continuing and increasing disbelief at our political process and dysfunction, as well as the astoundingly horrible things my fellow citizens say and do, I am thankful that I live in this country. I’m hoping that a strong dose of turkey tryptophan yesterday will help turn us from the fearful, xenophobic people I do not recognize into the welcoming and generous people that I know we can be.
I hope all of you had a Happy Thanksgiving, and I challenge you to make a list of at least ten things you are thankful for, unrestricted by anything you want to complain about!