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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Thankful Post

"...[T]here is no quality in this world that is not what it is merely by contrast. Nothing exists in itself. If you flatter yourself that you are all over comfortable, and have been so a long time, then you cannot be said to be comfortable any more." - Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

Taking Score
That's about the worst title ever.  Sorry 'bout that.  This resembles one of those ubiquitous year-end posts, but any similarity to actual year-end posts, either real or fictitious, is strictly coincidental.  Pretty much.

It's been a whopper of a year.  Let's recount our losses, in no particular order:
Memorial Church of Christ
The Most Evil Yippy Dog In All of Christendom (Waitaminute.  This is a WIN.)
Geographic Proximity to Super-tolerant Non-Family Members (a.k.a. "Friends")
And our wins:
Greener Pastures Capital, LP
The New House (including the cee-ment pond - Whoo doggy!)
Greener Pastures Capital, LP
The New Town
Greener Pastures Capital, LP
New Church (especially its ridiculously awesome Romans class)
Greener Pastures Capital, LP
What am I truly thankful for?  All of it.  Just the wins, right?  No, I mean all of it.  What?  Storytime?  Oh alright, storytime.

I had this shack in Dallas that I lived in (we creatively refer to it as "The Shack").  It was on Richmond Avenue on the east side of Skillman and it was this sloppy, run-down duplex that I shared with some neighbor or other.  It was all I could afford.  The Shack had rock hard plaster walls that I would shoot pucks against in my dining room.  There was one window unit, and two gas space heaters, one in the living room and one back in the bedroom (reached by navigating the uneven, rotten wood floors).  The ancient gas range served as a pretty effective heat source in the kitchen.  The cucina itself wasn't huge, and one time I was standing in there, cooking up some pasta for the sixth night in a row dinner, when I made an abrupt movement and shot my elbow through the plate glass window behind me.  It went all winter with a black trashbag duct taped over it.  I'm classy like that.

Thanks to Canadia and the Great Plains and all of that, it gets moderately cold in Dallas and I was freezing one night at bedtime.  So I lit the little space heater in the bedroom, and was out like a cheap lightbulb.  Until the carbon monoxide detector that I bought on a fluke went screaming.  An open window and 40 degrees later, I fell asleep under a single quilt.

Appreciating the fact that I would be in a box with a tag had I not randomly spent 15 bucks at Home Depot, I didn't bother using the space heater again.  In the mornings I'd wake up, peer out from under my blanket, and see my breath.  I lived there for several years, until Majesty took me in, sweet soul.  But in the meantime, something curious began to happen.  People would show up in sweaters and coats.  I'd wear T-shirts.  It would snow, and the touques and scarves would come out.  And I'd switch to longsleeve T-shirts.  I could not feel cold.  Because I was always cold.

Contrast
We're the most wealthy civilization in the history of the entire world.  But we're not conscious of that.  At all.  And in this phenomenally prosperous country, sometimes I doubt that I'm really on the more-wealthy-than-not end of the spectrum.  Until, that is, I look at those crazy IRS stats on my TurboTax report.  And I don't even make oodles and oodles of cash.  But there they are, numbers that say I'm probably one of the most wealthy men that was ever born.  In history.  You probably are, too.  You're thinking of your household income and disagreeing.  You're reading this on a computer, in your free time.  During a week where we'll chide ourselves for eating far too much and having too many leftovers.  Right.

And in me I can't help feeling ingratitude.  And in me is the small feeling of poverty.

Maybe that's in some way the point.  Perhaps the bit of ingratitude or poverty we feel accentuate the blessings we do have.  Maybe they allow us to understand the riches (of all sorts) we roll around in like Scrooge McDuck in his swimming pool of gold bullion.  Maybe the absence of thanksgiving (the feeling) makes it that much more valuable.

It could be that the other 364 days are more important than any of us thought, precisely because they are not Thanksgiving Day.

Have a nice one, everybody.

1 comment:

Donna said...

Great post- really thought provoking. We should all be on our faces thanking God for our blessings every day- but we all grow accustomed and complacent.