Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

The fall of 2006 was the beginning of quite a period in my life, one full of renewed energy. My Thanksgiving post reflected that. And a year ago, I was feeling much the same way.

Not now. If gratitude is a only mood, I am not feeling very grateful these days. In the pillar matters of love and work, transition and uncertainty are the order of the day; promising possibilities have shrunk into sleep-threatening problems. The aging of my parents continues and it is painful to watch. A man sits in the White House whom I do not want to be there, and money is very much on everyone's mind. My 401k started bleeding badly last month and I don't even want to know what it looks like now. Paranoid fantasies of all kinds of disasters and tragedies are easy to come by.

The larger shifts in the world are ones I have no control over. The shifts in love and work are my own doing, however much they feel like the results of forces larger than myself.

That is something to be thankful for, I think. Pride in one's moral standing is a perilous stance. I have long come to admit, even embrace, myself as a morally flawed being. It's more of a relief than anything else. Trying to be good all the time...god, what a bore. I am a relatively decent guy with the usual set of character cracks and failures. But one thing I have tried to avoid is falling into the comfortable trap of blaming other people for what is my own responsibility.

I may in fact be or become a victim of the Panic of 2008 or whatever they will call it. I am pretty sure that I had nothing to do with causing it. But the other rough places in my life have come from choices I made. I do not believe that humans have a vastly unhindered freedom of will. Free we are, but within the limits of our human condition. And it is a condition. So if my choices prove to have been questionable...and you never know til the whole story reaches its end...I take responsibility. And I am glad that I can.

I still have my family and friends, my health is good. And I am smart enough to know that while mood may enhance gratitude, or lessen its impact, it is, like love, something you do, even when you can't feel it much.

So, even at a holiday time very different from the last two years...Thank you.


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