As you all probably know, Facebook has invited people to spend each day of November giving thanks for something. In principle, this is a wonderful thing. In practice, it seems to be appalling, awful.
The things for which I give thanks, the things in my life for which I am grateful are few. First and foremost, for life itself, the daily surprise and challenge. For my lovely wife, who only grows more beautiful each day. For my daughters, a constant source of surprise and joy and laughter. The three of them together are evidence of the reality of grace in my life, and I tell them this as often as possible.
I am thankful for the animals who share our home, for the ways I see different creatures living (well, usually sleeping, eating, or pooping) out their days, and the occasional nuttiness of the cats, and the simple, unadorned love our dog has for all of us and each of us.
I am thankful for the ability to appreciate beauty. Whether it's the beauty of my daughters' smiles, of my wife's come-hither look, a painting, a photograph, or a piece of music, wouldn't our lives be empty if we couldn't take in an experience and see that glimmer of transcendence we choose to call "the beautiful" within it?
These are the things for which I give thanks, in private, in silence or in inadequate words, to God. Everything else I have in this life is just so much stuff, really. Junk that can clutter up the mind and heart.
I wish you all, and each of you, a wonderful Thanksgiving. Enjoy the fellowship with family and friends around the table. Please, for God's sake, don't muck it up by trying to talk politics. Spend tomorrow, rather, in relative peace and quiet, listening to others, to their lives and experiences. Revel in the tumult of a busy house full of people. And in and through it all, give thanks, whether to God - however you might call the deity you name - or to one another, for the simple, most important joys in life.