Thursday, November 22, 2012


I won't lie. As the type of person for whom you're likely to buy an Eeyore plush toy (as someone has), I find being verbally thankful to be a, well, challenge. It's not so much that I don't see my many blessings as I find it awkward to enumerate them out loud. The fact that I have a somewhat dark sense of humor and more likely to see and comment on the ironies (if not absurdities) of life makes Thanksgiving a day that leaves me a bit in awe of other people so easily enumerating their blessings. Facebook magnifies this.

Which is not to say that this puts me in any kind of depressive state. Not at all. It just puts me in a sort of anthropologist role, observing customs I don't take part in. It's interesting.

And it looks like a good exercise.

Now, before I start in with my personal incomplete (how could it ever be anything other than incomplete?) list of blessings, I'd like to pause and note that my self-perception is that I tend to be a thankful person. As I pray throughout my days, the most often prayed prayer is "thank you." I hesitate to say more because it's often for things that sound a little "precious" in the worst sense of the word---the sorts of things that get made into "inspirational" posters or those Facebook pictures that are the modern version thereof. But, yes, I'm often grateful for a blooming flower in my path or a swarm of grackles that I find entertaining or even a bus pulling up as I reach the bus stop. It is, truly, the little things that find me breathing a "thank you" throughout the day.

So that defensive little paragraph out of the way . . .

I am thankful for a growing creative community. The dancers and theater people who are new to me, who have invited my participation in projects I wouldn't thought to audition for, you are all blessings and I'm grateful for you.

I am thankful for a new church community that has been supportive of creative endeavors in ways that I'd given up hope for ever experiencing. This is an awkward, ongoing transition, but one that has blessed me. I am grateful for this beyond saying.

I am thankful for friends who are simply friends, who include me despite not necessarily getting me and my priorities. This is a rare and precious thing, and I am grateful.

I am thankful that I get to express myself not only through performance, that I also have had small outlets for my creative writing. While my literary pursuits have been a back-burner sort of deal lately, that I've managed a couple of small accomplishments in that area this year has been gratifying. Such a blessing. I am grateful.

I am thankful for animals. I've always loved animals and as I said above, I tend to notice them. Houston has had a great year for lizards---I've seen dozens and dozens of tiny hatchlings since late summer---and I love them. I love the sparrows and wrens in the bushes, I love the obnoxious grackles and pigeons on the sidewalks. I especially love the many cats I see daily, most of all the one that lives with me. These creatures are blessings to my everyday life and I am grateful.

I am thankful for all the above and so much more. I puzzle over the extent of my blessings and the fact that so many of them are accidents of birth and geography---had I been born to other parents or in another country, there are so many ways I'd not live in the abundance that I take for granted. I puzzle over how my blessing might bless others, how the abundance I live in can be shared, not only with the immediate neighbor who shares this culture of abundance (which, paradoxically, creates a culture of want---but that's another post for another day), but with those who seriously lack, both near and far away. It's easy to fall into some sort variation of "survivor's guilt" by wondering about these things---why do I have food daily while others have food on a much less regular basis? But this isn't a day for such things. I mention it only as a reminder that blessings that don't flow through us are dead blessings.

So I am thankful and do my best to live in a quiet state of thanksgiving. I also try to remain mindful that these blessings dare not stop on my head, but that they overflow into not just a life of abundance, but into abundant life all around.

1 comment:

  1. This was easily one of my favorite thanksgiving posts this year, Neil.

    I, too, am thankful for grackles, but... do not EVER park under a tree they might settle in late in the day. Or sit under one. Whatever is there *will* be repainted, so to speak. (Motorcycles and top down convertibles do NOT play well with grackles.)