It's thanking time again. In all the provinces, including Quebec. Thanking for the things given. I certainly count myself among those with a lot to be thankful for.
But I still don't really understand the history and meaning of Thanksgiving. I do know it's a North American holiday (specifically Canadian and American, though celebrated at different times). I know it's connected to the harvest, and First Nations, and some kind of recognition of a thank you to be given. To whom, I'm not sure; for what, also ambiguous.
How about this, to you? I compiled a list of things to be thankful for, as a human in general and as this human in particular. I invite you to compile your own list, it's damn cathartic; I even dare you to share if having courage is one of those things you can count on your thank you list.
My list includes being thankful for feelings of compassion whenever they are present; nothing feels better as a human than actually caring about someone else, even if it's a cat or a mouse. I'm thankful for being alive in such an interesting time, when many previous shackles have already been undone by those from before (though many remain, topics for other posts); where a history has already been built on pyramids, castles, stone villages and in the wild, and the future still allows for many more possibilities to be explored. Where our ancestors have already done the heavy lifting, discovering and harnessing electricity, engineering and constructing tools, buildings, transportation - all of the above from A to Z. Where society's laws and systems of governance have been hard fought for, and won sometimes through countless hours of thought and moments of eureka. Through sweat, blood and tears, too.
I'm thankful to live in a society that believes in extensive gun control and in women's, and everybody's, right to be treated equally. The last one is only in theory, still, I'm thankful the theory is accepted.
I'm thankful to be alive. Thankful to doctors. Thankful for universal health care. Thankful to have meaningful employment, to love what I do even if some days are more of a struggle than others. Thankful for direction, even if I'm going the same place we all are: nowhere. Thankful to have experienced, tasted and felt at least some of the richness of life. And there's still so much more to know.
Something we all know is that nothing is free. Nothing comes without costs. No gift comes without some strings attached; no land can be taken without eventually being paid for.
For everything I have named to be thankful for, I can't help but see how it can be turned again us, me. Have the benefits outweighed the costs? How will that be measured? In thank you's? In that case, is it the number or the sincerity that counts?
And what about those things we forget to be thankful for, because we don't even see them; do those things count in the calculations? No matter how much thanks I give, I will always have to ask, kinda like JFK said, only differently:
Thank you...and...what exactly do you want in return?