My personal expression of Thanksgiving


Last week I wrote about Thanksgiving in a general sense, and relayed a bit of the history of the day.  While my last segment was not devoid of comment about personal thankfulness, I realized that it didn’t really express my own feelings very well.

I’d like to think that I am thankful year round.  We have so much for which we can be thankful in this country.  Of course one can find fault with almost anything, but America, even in its weakest hour, is still the most powerful, most wealthy, most charitable and most welcoming country in the world.  I’m thankful for these things because they reflect my personal philosophy.  I have never been in favor of exclusion, and I have always tried to be kind and generous to those less fortunate than I.

That said, I thought I’d list some of the things for which I am so grateful.  I can’t really assign an order to them, ranking one of the good things in my life above another, but it is helpful for me to talk about why various conditions mean so much to me.

It should be no surprise that I am grateful for music.  I watched my father work so hard as a laborer all his life.  He never complained, but I could see the toll it was taking on him, and I knew that was not a life I cared to emulate. I managed to make my living with music.  For most of my life, that meant teaching others the value of music and working on the skills to include music in their lives at whatever level they might choose.  Many of my former students went on to musical careers, and a number of them are marvelously successful.  The ones who have advanced the furthest often credit me as one of the people who inspired them in their pursuit of their goals.

I’m not only thankful for music, but for art in general.  I’m fond of painting, sculpture, theatre, dance and poetry.  Likewise, skills that are referred to more commonly as crafts give me pleasure, and I have a number of treasured pieces.  Some of them were made expressly for me.  I continue to support the arts in whatever way I am able.

I’m thankful for my faith, which is closely connected to the art that enriches my life.  I don’t always understand the significance of faith, or even how best to express it, but I believe that is, in part, what faith is all about.  If everything were laid out in terms of black and white, there would be little challenge to following one’s belief.  There’s a lyric in a well-known hymn that speaks to me.  “Lord haste the day when my faith shall be sight.”  The meaning, for me, is that we will no longer have to believe without proof.  I’m not sure I agree with that.  There’s something special about having faith in that which we cannot prove scientifically.  Still, I love that hymn.

I have great appreciation for colors, the seasons, warmth, nourishment.  I’m fond of education and count knowledge as important.  I enjoy learning, which provides options and the ability to make sensible choices.  I love flowers and trees, mountains, hills and valleys.  I appreciate laughter and am equally thankful for cleansing tears.  I am grateful for the ability to love and the even more difficult ability to accept love.  Clearly I could go on and on.  Life is good and I’m thankful for all of it. I hope that on this coming Thanksgiving Day, we can focus on the gratitude in  our hearts for our many blessings.