"Wee ordaine that the day of our ships arrival at the place assigned for plantacon in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually keept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God."
The Charter of Berkeley Hundred, 1619
For those of us in the United States, today is the national day of giving thanks. Because it is seated in a history that sadly includes the abuse of the indigenous people of this land, it has lately become chic to replace being thankful for self-righteously lamenting the atrocities of the colonists. The purpose of the holiday established almost four centuries ago is lost in a wash of random facts involving everything from alcohol to smallpox.
I can’t account for the invasion of a foreign country and I’m sure that the Plymouth settlers were merely comforting themselves by adopting the title of colonists over that of conquerors. But these things have absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the first Thanksgiving held in Virginia back in 1619 was for the singular purpose of expressing thanks to God. It’s not that I’m insensitive or that I don’t acknowledge this nation’s history has its blemishes; it’s just that today is special for good reasons, not bad, and I’d sincerely like to keep it that way.
Today, this very moment, as I sit here typing this post, I am a truly thankful person.
I’m thankful for Karin. Just about nine years ago, she made a bold move that completely changed my life. Since then, I have become ten times the man I was and I owe so much of who I am today to her. I am grateful beyond words for her love and patience and understanding and support. She shines a beautiful light onto everything that happens in my life.
I’m thankful for Zachary and Amanda. Despite the difficulties of raising children – especially someone else’s children – I am deeply thankful that they are capable of loving me as a dad and that I am capable of loving them as my own. They are bright, generous, kind, and forgiving. I’m grateful to them for letting me in and for allowing me the privilege of raising them. My experiences as a father figure, both good and bad, are invaluable to me.
I’m thankful for my pets. I could write volumes on the things I’ve learned from my animals and I’m thankful for every last lesson. I’m thankful for Marley’s undying loyalty and for DG’s remarkable personality, chaoses and all. I’m thankful for Tosh’s giant gentleness, Diogi’s imperviousness to disease, thumbs on cats and sloppy kisses from dogs. I’m thankful for purring and barking and catnip and squeaky hedgehogs.
I’m thankful for my parents. I’m thankful for all the opportunities they provided for me, the education they gave me, the comfort they lavished on me, not to mention all the love, however tough it might have been from time to time.
I’m thankful for music that moves me in so many ways: to joy, to melancholy, to nostalgia, to outrage… to cheer, to move, to dance, to cry, to take action, to create something, to have sex. Music’s power and significance are universal – another thing I’m thankful for, by the way.
I’m thankful for books. I’m truly beholden to every single person who ever took the time to put his or her thoughts on paper. Reading is a direct path to knowledge and as such a direct path to the truth. Because of books, I can understand the ideas of others and appropriately articulate my own.
I’m thankful for the time and place in which I was born. It’s a wonderful time to be alive!
I’m thankful for clutter. My house is a mess only because I have a house and I have stuff to mess it up with. If I trip over a pair of shoes left in the hallway, it’s a signifier that none of my shoes look like this.
I’m thankful for hope.
I’m thankful for love.
I’m thankful for joy.
I’m thankful for now.
I’m thankful for you. I can’t even express to you how awesome* it is that we have this thing called the internet we can use to connect to one another so readily and in such an amazing capacity. I’m thankful that you’ve come here to read this and for the potential to hear what you might have to say back.
I could go on, of course. When I start contemplating all the things I have to be grateful for, I find it rather hard to stop.
But I’ll have to keep the list going in my head, because it’s time for me to go upstairs (I’m so thankful to even have an upstairs!) and give Karin a kiss (Oh, man, am I ever thankful for kissing!) and have a look at the phenomenal feast she’s preparing (thank God for food!).
Thanks SO MUCH for dropping by and have a wonderful day today!
*I mean that in the true sense of the word, not in the cliché sense that began sometime around the late Seventies.