A few days until Thanksgiving, which, by all accounts, has been stripped of its incarnation as a national holiday borne out of the violence of the Civil War as a time of thanks for simply not having a cannon ball explode in your parlor or carrying the heavy burden of dread for the names of those killed, injured, missing, or otherwise damaged physically or emotionally from the battles that result from petulant and prideful attitudes of those in power (ah, super committee on budgets, pay attention).
Now it has become a day of eating too much food and readying ourselves for rampant consumerism, at least on some level. Hopefully, before the fourth helping of deep-fried turkey and dressing (yes, I'm guilty as charged) and before the midnight rush to Wal-Mart for things that will not make your Christmas merrier or brighter, we all have time to reflect on things for which we are thankful.
My list? Well, if you insist...
1) Friends. Not the kind that say hello and ask how you are without really caring, but the kind that know you. Really know you, so that on the days you simply don't have the emotional energy to be nice or tactful, they aren't too surprised. Brad, Susan, Holli, Elise, and Amy get a big shout-out here. Being loved is good. Being known and loved is akin to miraculous.
2) Scars. Let's be honest. Being thankful for scars is a long journey and a oft-repeatable journey, made even more difficult because they are often the result of damaging behavior by others. I realize, however, that the perfect me isn't particularly helpful to God. The me with cracks, broken places, fragile spots, and downright ugly scars is the person that lets God shine through best. And they got me a book deal.
3) Tight pants. Pleased that the jeans require me to do the deep knee bend when I put them on to see if they will stretch out just a millimeter more? Not exactly. But tight pants mean I have plenty of food. In this world, I recognize that as a place for thankfulness. And a call to do more than complain about my weight.
4) St. Michael's. Challenging. Loving. Surprising. Prayerful. Joyful. Peaceful. Imperfect. Holy. Yep, just what Christian community should be. They show me God so frequently I lose count. They remind me that Resurrection isn't just a particular Sunday in spring.
5) DVR. Shallow, I know, but when your schedule is as busy as most clergy I know, the ability to catch up on Grey's Anatomy (yes, I'm still watching), American Horror Story (oh, it's so sick and twisted it makes Church life look like Sesame Street), and reruns of Wings on USA on a slow Saturday is just a dandy way to unwind.
6) The Book of Common Prayer. Gosh, I love that I can pray prayers that are the result of thousands of years of spiritual experience that are profoundly relevant. It also makes me realize our ideas of terminal originality are more sinful than helpful.
7) Cluelessness. My spiritual journey so far has shown the profound unhelpfulness of advising someone else how to run his/her life. In fact, doing so is more of an act of ego than anything else. When we all trek into the woods on a deep spiritual journey, the best thing we can do is simply be present. To do otherwise presumes we know better of another's inner journey than they. We don't.
8) BBC's Pride and Prejudice. Because sometimes, we just need to remember that life does have a way of working out, and to do so with petticoats and ringlets and proper British English makes it just that much more elegant.
Blessed Thanksgiving to all.