A Community within Communities: Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving

By The Rev. Bill Terry, Rector St. Anna’s Episcopal Church

Gobble gobble gobble! Turkey Day! The myth of Thanksgiving with Native Americans and Puritans at table together all in perfect harmony; well that didn’t seem to work out too well in the long run, did it? The myth of a just and loving society is equally as elusive, isn’t it? So, in this “just and loving society” what will you/we give thanks for? In my last article I brought attention to a man who could not see the blessings around him because of his own burdens which ate up his very spirit. There is certainly a lot to dislike, reprove of, and disdain in our community. Certainly many of these articles point toward desperate circumstances, exhort engagement in our broader society, and reprove the self absorbed and self serving. But, wouldn’t it be nice to just for a moment give thanks.

Thank you, Lord for this very day that I write where the winter southern sky is as deep and profound a blue as any ocean. It hangs above in resplendent color. Not the wisp of a cloud but just the breath of fresh air in a coolness that says all will be well. It is a good day to read outside in the sun but in the shade, a sweater is a must. Yes, a sweater perhaps an old style cardigan to play the part of an afternoon with nature sidled up with a cup of good hot English tea.

Thank you Lord for laughter and the gift of a smile and the warmth that it brings. I shaved my beard this week and a small child, one of Anna’s Arts kids that I see almost every day, looked at me so strangely and reaching out, rubbed my chin. She, with a smile, a giggle and yet stern eyes said, “It’s scratchy. But you know Santa’s coming and he has a beard.” No, it doesn’t have to make sense, it just is delightful. Or pants in a catalog called “ball room” pants and yes, it really did say extra large crotch for a comfortable fit. No, it really is in a workman’s clothing catalog. Thank you for the gift of humor and laughter.

Thank you for simple pleasures like corn bread made in an iron skillet. Thank you for a dark roux or dark beer or dark nights where the stars simply shimmer. Thank you for that small blue flower that pushes through the crack in the sidewalk that I see when I am looking at the ground, self absorbed and then, I feel better. Thank you for eccentric family members who have big hair, no hair, or comb over’s with plaid shirts and knee high socks.

Thank you for putting me in a city that takes time out for the silliness of Mardi Gras, Decadence, and Second Lines. Thank you for crooked streets, houses, and street lamps that make this a quirky little village. Thank you for balconies, draped with sweet potato vines and vegetables like mirlitons that grow in the back yard. Thank you for the occasional rooster that still runs the streets.

Thank you for dark, raging thunderstorms that passes in the night. Thank you for the fog that shrouds the city streets, that adds romance and mystery. Thank you for the calliope on a steam boat that echoes lightly in the noon day sun. Thank you for that furry friend dog or cat that is always around and always willing to put up with us. Thank you for a city that is many shades of brown, black, peach, pink, yellow, and red in the fabric that is our human race.

Thank you for good hearts and deep longings. Thank you for the gift that you have given us called love. Thank you for my grandmother’s thimble and the memories it brings. Thank you for friendships through hardships and good and bad times. Thank you for my life companion along the way.

This Thanksgiving I give thanks for all of this and more those things seen and unseen, for it is in the unseen through you that I know all things are possible. Thank you Lord my brother, my companion, my trusted friend, my God, and my eternal hope. Thank you for this Thanksgiving.