Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! It is very good to pause and take stock of what we are thankful for -- not just on this day of the year, but every day.

There is much I am thankful for:
  • Family and friends.
  • Good health (my bout with strep throat helped me to appreciate how healthy I generally am, and that is a blessing).
  • Living in a truly wonderful community.
  • Working at a truly wonderful college.
  • Finding a job that enables me to express my sense of calling. (So many people are unhappy with their jobs--I am fortunate to have found my way not just to a job but a vocation.)
  • Even though there have been many things I have found difficult about life (it's a long story), I am enormously grateful for how much I have learned from the challenges I've faced, and I am grateful for the strength these challenges have built in me.
  • I am also grateful for an upbringing that prepared me very well to face the challenges I have had to face:
  • I am glad, for example, that my parents taught me to care about the problems of the world, even though that caring is often painful. I would rather face the pain of reality than live in the false contentment of denial.
  • I am glad that my parents encouraged open seeking.
  • I am glad that my parents insisted that we always have dinner together, and encouraged discussion at the dinner table. So often we tried to solve the world's problems. I am glad that they were always fully honest about their disagreements in these discussions--it prepared me well for the academic world. People initially think I'm a quiet, polite, and gentle soul, and then are amazed to see how well I can hold my own in fiery debates. My parents taught me the Socratic dialectic at its best.
  • I am glad that my household was an environment of creative, artistic, and intellectual pursuit.
  • I am grateful for trees, and the sky, and rivers, and the ocean. I am grateful for clouds, and the sun. I am grateful for the mountains, and also the valleys. And I like sharing this planet with other animals.
  • I am grateful for human ingenuity.
  • I am grateful to all who have persisted in expressing their creativity and vision despite setbacks, not letting temporary discouragement stop them. I am grateful to those who work through challenges in ways that make them strong, wise, and compassionate instead of bitter. I am grateful to those who are able to find humor in life's ironies.
  • I am grateful for the miracle of life, and for the strength and reality of love.

There is so much more I could say as well, but this is a nice start!

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