Thursday, we’ll gather once again around the turkey, ham, clove-spiked chunk of Spam or whatever dish is the traditional family entree in your tribe.
It’s good we set aside at least one day each year to pause and draw strength from one another, and to give thanks for what we have.
However, on Thanksgiving Day 2003, I’ll be breaking with the tradition of acknowledging what I have and instead, I’ll be giving thanks for what I do not have. See, in the universal scope of have-ness, it’s the things I do not have that make me most thankful.
Therefore, when my personal deity and I commune Thursday, I’ll be saying thanks for not giving me the following:
n The burden of always being right. I’m mystified by those afflicted with that malady. Who needs that heavy load of presumption and the pressure and stress it brings?
n An impulse to end up with the most stuff or the biggest bank account. As the philosophers J. Lennon and P. McCartney said, “Money can’t buy me love.” And from what I can tell, once the casket drops into the ground, the worms pay no attention to your accumulation of “things” or the expanse of your stock portfolio.
n The hairlines that run — or rise — on my mom’s side of the family. I got Dad’s genes in that regard, and full heads of hair run in his clan.
n A compulsion to own or even to understand everything techno. I use computers every day and finally gave in and got a basic cell phone. But privacy is a highly-prized personal possession and it’s important to have a say in how much technology rules my life. Harrumph! Harrumph!
A heart full of vengeance. Seeking justice is one thing, but vengeance is the universal cancer of our species.
A desire to wear shorts in public. Hey, I’m 59 years old! Y’all should be thankful I don’t want to expose you to what the aging process is doing to my legs!
The need to try to please everybody. Talk about an impossible task.
Any interest in watching reality shows. Sorry, real reality is interesting enough for me.
A yen to relive my past. I have great memories and an appreciation of where I’ve been and the lessons it revealed, but I’d rather not make the same mistakes twice. Besides, there are new mistakes to make, because the learning process never ends.
Either of my kids in jail, a detention center, rehab or on the run. Parenting is a crap shoot and my sons’ waste matter does have an odor. But so far our guys have done pretty well in decision-making. I grieve for parents who haven’t been so lucky.
A notion the only value of education is that it helps you get a job. There was a time — long, long ago; on a planet far, far away — when knowledge was prized because it was knowledge, not a conduit to employment. (And where’d we ever get the idea you can know too much?)
A fear of other cultures. In fact, I’m intrigued by those who are different from us, and I’ve learned that when the cultural differences are scraped away, we share the same human desires, needs and frailties.
Physical impairments that would prevent me from using my hands, eyes, ears and mouth, although I have great respect for folks who’ve been able to overcome such afflictions. (And pay no attention to my wife’s remark that I’d be lost without the ability to talk!)
A weight problem, especially when you consider the gorge-fest that’s coming up on Thanksgiving Day.
A solitary, lonely life. Thursday, I’ll be physically and spiritually surrounded by the thing that makes living worthwhile — the people I love. I hope you can say the same.