I love U.S. Thanksgiving. The idea of a special holiday focused just on being grateful for our many blessings really appeal to me. The fact that it’s also very family-oriented, that it’s held on a Thursday, and that it somehow (miraculously) hasn’t become overly commercialized just adds to the appeal.
As I celebrate this Thanksgiving (ironically back in Canada with my family), here are the things I’m thankful for…
…my family, that they’re healthy and safe, that they all have good lives and have made good choices with partners, children, and in their work, that I can feel completely connected to them when we’re together, even though we’re very different people, that they are always there for me (and always will be) no matter what.
…my friends, for offering such a wide variety of knowledge and perspective on the world, for being endlessly entertaining, for being so open and accepting of me.
…for my country of birth, Canada, for making me who I am and giving me a fantastic start in life, with a strong sense of values focused on acceptance, community and inclusivity, for being a model to the world in so many ways, not to mention for producing amazing music and kick-ass hockey players!
…for my country of residence, the U.S.A., for giving me fantastic opportunities, for its incredible openness, for its diversity of opinion (and freedom to express that opinion), for the many good things it does in the world (often without thanks), and for its constant attempts to improve itself (for even if these often lead to internal conflict, the mere acknowledgement that it could be better puts it a cut above most countries).
…for the poor abused planet on which we live, for sustaining us, for providing food and drink, for the beauty of its mountains and forests, oceans and plains, for adapting as best as it can to our ever-increasing demands.
…for music and art, books and film, and everything else that nourishes our souls and helps lift us above the day-to-day grind.
And here are the things I pray for…
…that my family and friends remain healthy and safe, free to pursue their dreams, enjoy their lives, and be as free of stress as possible.
…that people will set aside their ideologies, quit name-calling and focus on finding practical solutions to problems – and disagreeing based on policy differences and facts, not talking points and sound bites.
…that people of all faiths will start to believe that no matter who their god is, he/she/it would not (if any kind of a loving god) want to see them hurt anyone who has different beliefs.
…that people who are troubled can find help for their troubles, and not resort to violence or fall into despair.
…that we can learn to simplify our lives, focus on what’s important, spend time with those we love, and avoid the hurly-burly stress-inducing “keep up with the Joneses” lifestyle that’s hurting everyone (not the least of which is the planet on which we live).
…that we can all live in peace.