It's important to be thankful.
We know this of course. But it's nothing without sincerity and perspective and an empathy that moves. With the news out of Ferguson, the thankful musings that routinely occupy my thoughts seem so silly and without a lick of merit. How am I to reconcile these? Is there any reasonable, human way to do so? I feel sad. I feel weak. I feel hopeless.
And, as Roxane Gay put it so beautifully, "it is such a luxury to feel hopeless."
But we can communicate. We can write. We can create a conversation. We can fight for our beliefs in our actions (Roxane, myself, and many others have donated to the Ferguson Municipal Public Library District. You can too.) and in the way we live. We have words after all.
Last year, I had words. These are those words, with some more words.
Be thankful. Be accepting of those with views that differ from yours. Be understanding. Be open to change. Be wide-minded. Be fierce in your beliefs. Be a force for positivity. Be willing to learn. Be better at giving back. Be gracious. Be joyful. Be ready for whimsy. Be fearless.
Be a puddle-jumper. Be a questioner. Be a challenger. Be a wanderer. Be a tree climber. Be someone that can say no. Be someone that can say yes. Be someone that understands the weight of your no or your yes.
Be okay with failure. Be okay with the quiet. Be okay with the darkness. Face them head on. Face them with friends by your side. Face them with the cape you constructed out of red felt with the satin lining.
Be patient with dogs that track mud mallets into the house after a long rain. Be warm-hearted with the horses that just need an ear scratch and don't really want to stomp on you. Be understanding of the aging creatures in your life and know that it doesn't really behoove them to get in your way every moment you attempt to walk places.
Be happy you have two legs you can at least race walk with. Be thankful for the "old man exercises" that keep going and the early morning walks as the sprinklers twist and shout their encouragement into the emerald carpeted squares.
Be calm of mind in the moments in which the anxiety latches onto mom's cyclopic disposition and the tumor that sits unflinchingly, waiting for its moment to spread to her liver. Be calm of heart in the moments that allow the negative constructs of my imagination to take me to that place, and allow them to remind you that she is Calamity Jane meets Hawkgirl meets Cyclops.
Be okay with relinguishing control.
Be there for people when they need it most. Be the rock or the pebble or whatever apt sediment they require.
Be open to the loud and boisterous guffaw.
Be overwhelmingly kind to a wife that unabashedly deserves it. Be smitten with her goofy antics, voracious mind, and freckled beauty. Be moved by her gargantuan heart.
Be, quite simply, thankful.
Happy Thanksgiving, friends. May it be replete with joy, perspective, love, playfully-muddied pets, kindness, turducken, water balloon fights, and not-from-the-can cranberries.