Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Every year, it seems to fade a little more, swallowed up completely by Christmas. Retailers get the jump on the season of red and green earlier and earlier each year. We fume about it, but it seems that everyone's buying into it, nonetheless.
Thanksgiving, my friends, is the most wonderful celebration we allow ourselves. It's simply gathering with loved ones to share a meal and talk about what we're thankful for. That's it. No presents to buy. No over the top parties to attend. No fancy clothes (in fact, I recommend the baggier, the better). No cards to send. Simple. Slow. Savoring the process of cooking, gathering, welcoming, eating, thanking, hugging, loving. What's not to love?
Yet, every year we chop a little bit more off this most perfect of holidays. Why? Why are we in such a hurry to shove Thanksgiving out of the way for Christmas? What message are we sending our children? We could all use a bigger dose of gratefulness, and a lot less focus on stuff. At the very least, we need more thankfulness for all the stuff. So why the rush?
Folks have already decorated trees, mantles, and yards. I'm simply stunned. We haven't poked the turkey in the oven, cooled the pumpkin pies, or watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and they've hung their stockings on the mantle. I don't know, maybe they'll be in Europe for Christmas and want to celebrate a little early at home. Or maybe the dog's on her last leg and they want to make sure she doesn't miss the season. I'm grasping for a reason to rush through marvelous Thanksgiving to begin the yuletide celebration.
Now, no one loves Christmas more than yours truly - I watch White Christmas in July and consider Easter the start of Advent. Still, I'm puzzled by the notion of having Christmas lights blinking while you sing "Over the River and Through the Woods."
I, for one, know that Christmas is just around the corner. I can wait. The day after Thanksgiving? All bets are off. It's Christmas all the way. But for tonight and all day tomorrow? My heart and all my senses will be filled with thanksgiving/Thanksgiving. The house is decorated in oranges and yellows, not reds and greens. Turkeys and Pilgrims and Squanto headdresses are showcased, instead of creches and Santas.
It's Thanksgiving. I'll hang on to it as long as I can.
Saturday, November 23, 2013
I'm so thankful.
- For a job that pushes me to travel to interesting and, sometimes, hard places. I meet lots of people I'd have never met otherwise and get to witness good work going on all over the place. I love my job and am so thankful for gainful employment.
- For good health and stamina (so far) to keep up with life in New York and grandbabies in Atlanta. Good health is another one of those things I often take for granted, until something flares up or starts to ache. For being able to get up everyday and keep up with life's pace, I give great thanks.
- For my own bed, clean sheets, and a featherbed. Whatever the day has brought - good or bad - my good old bed welcomes me every night. No other bed in the whole world is as good as my very own.
- For the folks young and old who venture to hard places in the name of Christ to serve God's people, especially the Young Adult Service Corps volunteers and the Volunteers in Mission of the Episcopal Church. I'm privileged to get to see what they do first-hand. I'm so, so thankful for these wonderful people.
- For the children and staff of St. Vincent's School for the Handicapped in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Life in that country is hard enough, but the courage and perseverance of these children - blind, deaf, and with other physical disabilities - and the teachers who love and educate them is truly remarkable. I give thanks for their lives and pray they grow into happy, successful adults.
- For (fairly) reliable public transportation. I really depend on it in New York, and to some extent, in Atlanta. Yes, subways and trains are often crowded and once in a while everyone's surly or impolite, but most of the time folks behave themselves and just mind their own business. But it's great value for the money, and it gets me from point A to point B, C, and D. I'm so grateful that I have access to good public transportation.
Friday, November 22, 2013
Presidents just didn't get assassinated in 1963. Yes, we were busy fending off the USSR and ducking-and-covering, but assassinating the President? How John Wilkes Booth-y. I know it's hard for younger folks to understand, but it really was the end of innocence for those of us at the older end of the generation of "Look, Ma, no cavaties!", "Let's Twist Again Like We Did Last Summer," and "Yabba-dabba-do!" After this, anything could happen. Anything.
My enduring image of Friday, November 22, 1963, is that of quiet darkness. As usual, Daddy took us to the Red Food Store on Ringgold Road for our weekly grocery run on a late autumn night. The store was open. Just. There seemed to be fewer street lights, neon signs, and car headlights as we pulled into the parking lot. We were part of only a handful of people out and about that night. I guess we got what we needed and went home.
But fifty years ago tonight, it was dark. So dark.
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Tonight I'm thankful for travelling safely from New York to Port au Prince to Cap Haitien. Big jets, tiny prop planes, vans - all made it possible for our safe arrival. I'm also thankful for a good meal with new friends and a cool place to sleep. I feel very welcome in Haiti!
Friday, November 15, 2013
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Monday, November 11, 2013
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Saturday, November 09, 2013
Friday, November 08, 2013
Thursday, November 07, 2013
Wednesday, November 06, 2013
Tuesday, November 05, 2013
Monday, November 04, 2013
This picture, by the way, is of a bowling outing the Office of Communication took a couple of years ago. We rarely get out of the office together, so this was pretty special. Don't know where the rest of the team was (at the snack bar?).
Sunday, November 03, 2013
Saturday, November 02, 2013
In lieu of my writing the Great American Novel this month, I will concentrate on thankfulness. I won't hold myself to 50,000 words about what I'm thankful for and my thanksgivings won't be in any sort of order. No, just random things - the great and the small - that make me grateful for living every day.
I see I'm a day behind and should've started this list yesterday. Let's blame it on Halloween-hangover. So I'll catch up with two big thanks today.
First: I am so very thankful that I can read. I take it for granted, never giving it a second thought. But, oh, how much joy reading gives me! Beyond the necessary task of reading just to function in the world, reading lets me think, dream, imagine, wonder about worlds I know and worlds I don't know. That learning ABCs can lead to complex, creative thought and feeling is miraculous. For books and stories and treatises and articles, whether bound or electronic, for authors and dream-weavers and storytellers and truth-tellers, for the basic, magical ability to read - I give thanks.
Life is good. I'm thankful.