My son and one of my best friends have both given me stern warning about my attitude today, Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. They know how I can be–how negative and cynical I am much of the time. They want me to have a positive attitude and enjoy the day. The best I could come up with is: “It is what it is.”
Today, myself and a couple friends are dining out–going to an upscale Italian restaurant where patrons are served “family style.” I guess we’ll have the traditional turkey along with some pasta. Now generally, Italian is my first choice in food, but not today. Also, the whole idea of eating in a restaurant on T-day is a real turn-off. I think in all my many years this is a first. My extended friends group (except for the host) always eat out, but it’s in someone’s home. But this year will be different; there have been some losses and changes in our group. I suggested we go to the homeless shelter, as it would save a lot of money. Nobody took me seriously. I even suggested that I cook; I do a pretty good job on spareribs and sauerkraut–nobody took that suggestion seriously either.
Anyway, all the T-day festivities sort of focus me inward and past-ward (to times that were better)–and inward about my predominant mood and attitude, my raison d’être even. I don’t suppose in my whole life since about age 13 that I’ve had more than a few days at a time of being “fat, dumb and happy”–it’s all been a quest–like the famous Bertrand Russell quote about his life being ruled by a search for love, knowledge and an awareness of mankind’s suffering. Like it says in Ecclesiastes, God has set eternity in our hearts, but we are not capable of fathoming His whole plan. Yet, I persist in trying.
I learned many years ago that my equilibrium could be maintained by profuse thanksgiving daily. I’ve been able to cope, but not really overcome. I still search for love, the truth in “knowledge” and I remain perpetually discomforted by the pain in this world. Maybe that’s the way He wants it to be.
Anyway, my walk this morning was especially peaceful. On holidays there is always less traffic and there is a quietness yet at 8-a.m. The sky was “a blue true dream” in the words of Cummings and the temp 52 with a cleansing breeze out of the north. As I was walking I noticed that one of my lawn-obsessed neighbors had their sprinkler system running. This I find irritating–all the wasted ground water. And then in the midst of my irritation the sun caught the spray just right and the most beautiful rainbow appeared in the mist. Another God-wink–He often gives me rainbows when least expected. And so I plodded onward for a longer spell than usual, and I noticed the wildflowers growing along the road. I suppose they were there all along.
Thankful yes–fat dumb and happy, not so much.