As it does every year, Thanksgiving rolls around this week — the perfect time to tell my faithful readers some of the blessings that an old hymn tells me to count. I don’t remember what I …
As it does every year, Thanksgiving rolls around this week — the perfect time to tell my faithful readers some of the blessings that an old hymn tells me to count. I don’t remember what I wrote last year, or even whether I wrote anything at all. With that in mind, here are a few — it’s definitely not a complete list — of the things I am thankful for.
First, the important stuff. I’m thankful that I was raised in an American family of Christians. I am still a Christian, even though I often show a streak of skepticism and, at times, of cynicism. I’m not a Christian so I’ll go to heaven; I just believe I should love my neighbor, treat everyone justly, and be merciful. It’s not easy to do that, because some neighbors are pretty hard to love, and it takes a lot of work to love them. With all that work to do, who has time to worry about the afterlife?
Anyway, I have my parents, several ministers and many other people — including a Syrian Muslim and a Jew from New Jersey who were part of a Bible study group I was in at college — for my adherence to Christianity. Another influence was a Sunday school teacher who, during the week, doubled as the biology teacher who introduced me to the theory of evolution.
Second, I’m glad I live in America, a blessing I didn’t earn but received when God planted my soul in an American uterus. It’s not because America is perfect, far from it. I’ve never believed all that stuff about a “city on the hill” that other nations look up to. Our current rough spot, what with all the protesting going on these days, is proof of that. The fact is, though, that our nation was born protesting. Even before we were a nation, we had the violence of the Boston Massacre and the destruction of property we call the Boston Tea Party.
That said, I still believe America, while it needs a little polishing, is a great nation — once we get the current craziness out of our system and learn a little humility. Many of us need to remember that, while our rights are important, we also have responsibilities to the nation and to each other. They’re responsibilities that we actually pledge our loyalty to when we salute the flag: recognizing that our nation is indivisible and promising liberty and justice for everyone.
I am also happy that I have been able to live nearly all my life in this big geologic landform we call the Big Horn Basin. I’ve lived in three of the area’s counties and four of its towns, and have found something to like about all of them. It’s often too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter here, but I like those changing seasons, even while I am complaining about them. Most of all, I love being surrounded by mountain ranges. I do wish that the Bighorns were more visible from Powell. Heart Mountain is an interesting geological feature, but the majestic trio of Cloud Peak, Bomber Mountain and Black Tooth Mountain along the spine of the range make me glad I live here.
Finally, I am grateful that I found the right person to share my life with. After more than 50 years of wedded bliss, I can’t think of any way that I could have found a better companion, and that says it all.
Now for some wishes.
I wish for better days for my nation. Understanding our responsibilities as well as our rights would make this nation greater, no matter who we put in the White House.
I wish our two political parties would stop bickering and dividing us and begin uniting us. They can do that if they concentrate on governing rather than trying to destroy the other party.
I wish we the people would be more careful about who we vote for. We need to elect the people who, rather than calling each other names, would look for ways to work together.
Finally, I wish people would stop using a four-letter word beginning with F. They seem to think it makes their points stronger or any event more disastrous or more wonderful, so they drop it into every sentence, often in ways that aren’t grammatical in the context of what they want to say. It just makes them sound ignorant and they should quit using this word.
Don’t forget to count your blessings this week. I bet you have more of them than you think; I know I do.