Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving


There's been a lot of new hoo-haw about Thanksgiving, this year, including word of some school district in the NorthWest calling it a day of mourning for Native Americans (I'm not wasting my time looking it up, it's on the internet, it must be true). What narrow-mindedness has gripped our collective idiocy, these days? The reality is that many cultures have always celebrated the harvest. I'd like to remind you why it's a day off in the United States.
The Battle of Gettysburg, fought July 1-3, 1863, nearly 87 years to the day of the nation's birthday, took between 46,000 and 51,000 lives. Three days. More than are killed on our highways in a year. It is a staggering number by any human standard. A nation at war, a war that would eventually claim 618,000 . President Lincoln is struggling to keep the Union together. I invite you to read his Proclamation. It acknowledges the war only as an impediment to the inevitable success of the U.S. as a people. It is a prayer - and it is not filled with the trappings of any one religion - it is a prayer for a nation to express its' gratitude, even in the midst of cataclysm.
We need to be grateful, in whatever circumstances we find ourselves. There was a great line, last night, on the TV show "House." "When you have all of the answers, you no longer have Hope!"
Thanksgiving, as manifested in our culture, is all about Hope. The traditional story of the Pilgrims indicated a new era of cooperation and understanding in the New World - regardless of the outcome. Lincoln's proclamation is all about the future. It is a day to pause and reflect upon those things that we tend to take for granted, ultimately to spur us to pursue those ideals that motivate us personally and collectively.
I am thankful that:
  • I have the freedoms afforded to me, earned both by the lives of others committed to those freedoms, moreso than by my own participation in the process.
  • I have Love. This greatest gift continues to be bestowed upon me by my family, friends, and a merciful and gracious God (to borrow a bit from A. Lincoln).
  • I have health.
  • I have a secure and comfortable place to live, and plenty of food to eat.
  • I have employment that ultimately serves others, thereby giving it greater purpose, for me.
  • I have places and communities that value my contributions, this means more to me, the older I get.
  • I have Hope.

I wish you all a safe and happy Thanksgiving. Thank you for reading.