I am taking a Law & Religion class this year. And one of the things I learned is that Thanksgiving is actually a religious holiday. How is it that I am thirty-something and I never knew this? I am not sure. I mean, I suppose when you are thankful for something (or someone), you are thankful to someone-- like a higher power. But I just never thought of it that way. I just thought Thanksgiving was a time to stop and smell the roses, so to speak. A time to give thanks. But apparently there is a long history of a presidential prayer on Thanksgiving (though one past President, at least, refused to participate in this ritual, citing a separation between church and state).
Though I am not a big fan o' Bush (or "Dub" as some like to call him), he did in fact fulfill his presidential duties and offer up a prayer for our nation in Thanksgiving. You can read the full text of this prayer here. Here is an excerpt of the prayer part:
Tomorrow is our day of Thanksgiving. It's a national observance first proclaimed by George Washington. In our journey across the centuries from a few tiny settlements to a prosperous and powerful nation, Americans have always been a grateful people, and we are this year as well. We're grateful for our beautiful land. We're grateful for a harvest big enough to feed us all, plus much of the world. We're grateful for our freedom. We're grateful for our families. And we're grateful for life itself.
So on Thanksgiving Day, we gather with loved ones and we lift our hearts toward heaven in humility and gratitude. As we count our blessings, Americans also share our blessings. We're a generous country. We're filled with caring citizens who reach out to others, people who've heard the universal call to love a neighbor as we want to be loved ourselves. On Thanksgiving and every day of the year, Americans live out of a spirit of compassion and care, and I thank you for that. It's the spirit that moves men and women to be mentors to the young, to be scout leaders, to be helpers of the elderly, to be comforters of the lonely and those who are left out.
We love our country, and the greatest example of that devotion is the citizen who steps forward to defend our nation from harm. Members of our military have set aside their own comfort and convenience and safety to protect the rest of us. Their courage keeps us free. Their sacrifice makes us grateful, and their character makes us proud. Especially during the holidays our whole nation keeps them and their families in our thoughts and prayers.
It's interesting to me how narcissistic we are-- I mean, check out that middle paragraph. It's not about how thankful we should feel for our many blessings; it reads more like how great America is. Now don't get me wrong-- I'm not necessarily saying Bush was wrong. I just think the tone is interesting. . .
Things I Am Thankful For
In honor of Thanksgiving, though, I thought I'd jot down a few things I'm personally thankful for. I'm not saying my list of things is better than the President's. I'm speaking only on behalf of myself-- not for an entire nation of people, after all.
(These are in no particular order by the way)
- My husband, Jason. I can't believe how quickly our time together has breezed by. I could write a whole book about what a lucky woman I am. . .
- My son, Casey. He makes me laugh and worries me and challenges me to care about the future and where the world is headed; I hope to leave it a little better for his sake and the sake of his generation.
- My daughter, Marcie. She also makes me laugh and worry, for much the same reason. I can hardly believe she's been in our lives for such a short period of time.
- My parents. They are really amazing role models for the kind of parent I hope to become. My parents are reasonable. They have always shown unconditional love for each other and for my and my siblings. And what is most impressive to me is their ability to let go and encourage us each to live our own lives-- they really taught us to be independent and to know when to ask for help. I am such a control freak that I hope one day I will be able to give my children the freedom they deserve-- and trust them to make the decisions that are best for them.
- My in-laws. They are really a safety-net for us, and I am so grateful to have their help and support. They are fiercely loyal and big-time cheerleaders. I didn't get to grow up living near my grandparents, so I'm hoping my kids will gain a greater perspective of the world from spending so much time with theirs. I'm so lucky to have them in our lives.
- My siblings and my husband's siblings (and their kids). What would I do without their sense of humor? Who could I play random board games with? I love hearing how their choices have differed from mine, and I'm so lucky to get to spend time with our extended families fairly regularly.
- School. I am grateful that I get to be intellectually stimulated and challenged on a regular basis. I feel especially lucky to be taking international business transactions, my least favorite class this semester-- the professor is actually quite good, but boy has it taught me that I really don't want to practice transactional law (and watch, I've probably just jinxed myself into a job doing just that after graduation!).
- Family leave. I am so lucky to be able to take time off of work to spend it with my kids. I've loved being home with Marcie and trucking Casey off to his therapy.
- Casey's birthfamily. We really consider them extended family, and I feel so blessed that his birthmother was so strong and loved him so much that she chose this life for him. I also feel very fortunate that his birthfamily considers us family (just like we consider them family).
- Marcie's birthfamily. Although we will never get to know them or the reasons for their decisions, we know they must have loved Marcie a lot to give her to an orphanage where she could be placed with a family. Casey really needed a little sister. . . and our family wouldn't be complete with out her.
- Enough money. Not to say we couldn't use more. :) But we are really, really lucky to make enough money to put a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, and food in our mouths. We are so fortunate to have been able to afford two adoptions and to have a little cash to do the extra stuff with our kids. Life is full of choices and there are lots of other things we could be spending money one, but they are so very worth it.
- Friends. I'm so lucky to have people all over the country (and maybe the world!) who care about me and my family, to pray for our well-being, to laugh with me, to hold me when I cry, to question me when I'm out of line, and to push me to study when I don't feel like it. Oh, and to listen to me complain. :)
- Faith. In God. In humanity. Enough said.
- Blogging. Don't laugh. I really like this. . .