...except for me and my monkey! "Everything we see hides another thing. We always want to see what is hidden by what we see." -Rene Magritte

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Every year when we go around the table and say what we're thankful for, everyone has the same response: "Family, friends, and health." And I thank God that I am blessed with those, as well. But sticking with the stock response, sincere as it is, risks eclipsing the more minor or more specific joys of the year. I will always be thankful for my family, my friends, and my health. But I'm also in deep gratitude for so many little things; those, I want to highlight now. This year, I'm especially thankful for:

1. The fact that I look forward to all my classes this semester. Honestly, even when individual class sessions are kind of a drag, I'm so happy with what I'm studying that the work never (okay, occasionally, but more rarely than usual) feels like a burden. I'm thankful that I pushed myself to take 24 credits this semester, that I trusted in my own abilities, ambition, and intellect.

2. For my professors, especially Kugler, Rishona, and Paul: incredible intellectual and personal role models; not only the kinds of scholars I want to be, but the kinds of people.

3. The fact that I read Ulysses, by James Joyce. I feel like an infinitely more educated, cultured person for having read that book; I'm glad that my life has a little more contransmagnificanjewbantantiality in it, and it has been (and will continue to be) the springboard for some awesome discussions, both in and out of the classroom.

4. Friends who join, challenge, and encourage me in cultivating/pursuing spiritual disciplines and practices.

5. Wednesday Night Bible Study for Hippies, even/especially the nights last semester when we were so caught up in the joy of communitas that we were in Mark's office until midnight without ever cracking open the Bible. I'm so thankful for my Christian friends, in general.

6. Daniel, and the time we spend together. As Julia put it in a facebook message after I updated my relationship status: "Yay for intelligent boys, cutely awkward moments, and escaping from the college bubble!"

7. Silly and serious debates about whether Ursula the Sea Witch can be considered a feminist icon.

8. The fact that my apartment's location is such that I walk over the ravine bridge to class every morning. There's something about the ravine in the morning, with the mist, and the sun streaming through the leaves, and the chill in the air; it's a kind of mysterium tremendum experience, I think: the awe-inspiring experience of the individual dwarfed in the presence of the Divine.

9. Stephen Colbert's li'l gimpy ear.

10. The opportunity to reexamine and reinvent what Lewis & Clark means to me after Ryan's graduation last spring; the fact that I didn't let the end of last semester embitter me completely.

11. Every chance I have to use the word "hermeneutic."

12. P'nai Or, tikkun olam, and my thesis topic in general.

13. Looking forward to the future.

14. Absurd discussions about things like the Flighted Baby Advantage, the Quaid-to-Quality ratio, Flavor Flav, who you would make out with in an elevator, whether Topher Grace is overrated as an actor/as an icon of our generation, the homoeroticism of Jesus Christ Superstar! et cetera.

15. Gossip and serious talk with my little brother.

And more. Feel free to post yours in the comments. May you all have a happy and safe Thanksgiving; you have all been blessings in my life, and I'm so thankful to all of you.

Edited to Add: There's a lot more I could have written, but fifteen seemed like a nice number to stop at. But I want to add: CHILE. So much changed for me last fall, and even though most of it occured before Thanksgiving 2005 and, hence, fell under that Thanksgiving's jurisdiction, so to speak, I didn't return until the beginning of 2006 and the things I experienced and people I met in South America permanently changed my life and my outlook on the world. To say I'm thankful for those experiences, and thankful to the people I met there, would be, in Rorhbaugh's language, the understatement of the year.