Thursday, November 26, 2009

Being Thankful

As I looked back at my blog posts, I realized this is my very first time blogging about Thanksgiving. Very cool, and very interesting.

To be honest, I feel like I don't have much to be thankful for this year.
My brother died. My grandma died.
If anything, this is the year I probably have the most reason to NOT be thankful for anything.

My family has a tradition at Thanksgiving. We each have a candle clipped on to our plate. One person starts with their candle lit, and they say one thing they are thankful for. They then use their candle to light the candle of the person sitting next to them. This continues until the entire table is ablaze with thankfulness- only then do we begin the meal.
In past years I remember wanting to get on with it so that I could taste the beautiful dark meat of the turkey, and the gravy-topped mashed potatoes. When my turn came to say what I was thankful for, I remember saying the normal things: "my family," "my friends," or "a great year" were classics. I wasn't being a selfish kid, I simply was taking for granted everything that should have meant something in my life. Taking for granted the very thing that made the food on the table possible. Ironic.

In many ways I feel like my response to the thankfulness candle this year could simply be "pass." I've got the excuses and the reasons to be sure. In fact, my family as a whole has every reason to give a big resounding "pass" to the question of thankfulness in 2009.

But I don't think that's at all what Thanksgiving is all about.

The Pilgrims who originally celebrated Thanksgiving weren't giving thanks for the easy situations, simple problems, and "safety", they were giving thanks for avoided fatalities, survival, and friendship. They were giving thanks for what little they had.

History put aside, can I honestly put on a sour face during Thanksgiving? Can I honestly spit in Papa's face for all the relationships he's given me this year? Can I, in good conscience, go pout in the corner and let every joyful moment of the past year slip my mind? No, I really can't.

Is it true that shitty events have taken place in the life of Colin Mansfield this year? Undoubtedly.
And yet, I have so much to be thankful for.

  • One year anniversary of dating my girlfriend, Kona Estes.
  • My nephew, Cole, who will be turning two this January.
  • A dog who, despite losing both of her eyes this year, remains happy as a puppy.
  • True friends who have incredible senses of humor, will pray with me when I need it, and will tell me to shut the hell up when I need it.
  • An amazing sister. Words can't describe how much she means to me, and how much closer we've gotten this year.
  • A real relationship with Papa. I used to know him as my God. Now he's more, he's my daddy.
  • The realization of what Love is. And who Love is.
This is in no way a complete list, or even the start of one.

I really do have loads to be thankful for. And, like the Pilgrims, much of it has come through looking through the lense of loss.

This year, when I get the candle passed to me, I won't have to say pass. Nor will I feel inclined to say any old thing because the turkey is calling my name.
This year, I'll be able to speak with the knowledge that I have so much to be thankful for.

What are you thankful for?


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