What I mean by Thankful…

By Steve Cichon

Thankful to me means accepting without settling, filled with mercy but strong in resolve, happy but realistic.

Thankful to me means lacking in anger but not lacking in passion, lacking in spite but not lacking in a hope for justice, lacking in hate but not lacking in a drive to help good triumph every time.

Thankful is about finding the light up close and far away. It’s allowing the tiniest beautiful things to lighten your heart even when your first inclination might be to leave it all in darkness, but also looking to the horizon– maybe even squinting if you have to– to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Thankful can happen even in the most adverse climates and situations, but it takes a lot of work and fighting through pain and darkness. It’s not always cool or popular to be thankful, and sometimes it doesn’t even feel right to be the only one filled with thanks– but thanks is never wrong.

I pray the light of thankfulness touches us all today and everyday.

Thanks by the canful (for cranberries)

It’s alarming that some people have never known the joy of genetically altered jelled cranberry slime, and frankly, it’s Un-American.

cranberryIf you have to spend $$$$ for whole cranberries and boil the #$% of them for 12 hours with orange rind and nutmeg to show everyone how fancy you are, that’s fine— Just know that while everyone’s eating your lumpy schpoo— They’ll all be jealous of me, eating my $1.29 can of good ol’Pilgrim deliciousness. Mmmmmmm.

You guys all enjoy your “recipes” and your “fancypants” today. I’ll be busy partaking in a great American tradition. I like both… but only one is Thanksgiving, the other is Food Network.

In fact, you know what? Forget the turkey. Just get me my own can-shaped blob of cranberry-flavored chemical loaf. This is what I’m thankful for…

What I’m thankful for the hard way… with no buts…

By Steve Cichon

Since the beginning of November, many of my friends have taken to Facebook and Twitter with something they are thankful for each day.
This is all very nice, people thankful for their spouses and jobs and children and blue skies and flowers and candy.

I don’t diminish that, and I am genuinely thankful for those things everyday. I tend to think most people who are writing about them are, too, but the way it’s written makes it sound to me like “I’ll spend the next 24 hours being thankful for the gift of sight. Then at midnight, I’ll forget that and be thankful for my favorite Keurig K-cup flavor.”

And since I, too, have a tremendous feeling of thanks for “Donut Shop,” I might have kept my misgivings about these thanksgivings to myself, had my wife not at one point said to me, “I’m thankful for this stuff every day! What the heck!!” I was never more thankful for her than right then and there. Or maybe I was sad that my cynicism is rubbing off on her.

I began thinking, though, about how I could put together a list of things I’m thankful for, while still passing my own pretty difficult test of triteness.

I think Thanksgiving is about “thanks with no buts.”

We have buts for everything…. however, for the rest of the way here, I’m working my “buts” off, and explaining why I’m thankful for even some of the bad and terrible parts of my life.

One of the saddest times of my life also offered me some of the most strengthening and reassuring lessons of my life.

I’m thankful for my dad’s death, which of course left some parts of my heart hollow and empty, but the resulting caring and love from so many helped me to understand that there’s a tremendous amount of love and support from so many people for me always, and that all I have to do to take it in is be open to it.

I’m thankful for having people I have wronged as friends and Facebook friends. Even with their forgiveness, their faces serve as a humbling constant reminder of how not to behave, and how to forgive wholly, and how sometimes the hardest person to forgive is oneself.

I’m thankful for people who hate me and tell me so or make it pretty clear one way or another. It hurts, but makes me strive to be a better person. It also reminds me even in dislike, to never hate and always forgive.

This one’s hard, but its true. I’m thankful for the deaths of two little babies I never met, for the understanding their lives and deaths brought to me about life and living. They may have never breathed a breath, but their lives and the joy and pain they brought were not in vain.

I’m thankful for the daily, nagging pain in my joints and eyes, caused by autoimmune disorders. My achy inconveniences give me a distant view of the terrible and deadly illness so many deal with, with a lot less bitching and complaining than I do.

Similarly, I’m thankful for the occasional panic attacks I’ve endured that I better understand and grow in compassion for my brothers and sisters who from time to time lose some ability to control their minds.

I’m thankful for “friends” who’ve let me down… For showing me how special real friends are.

I’m thankful for those relationships that are almost entirely fake– where someone says the right things, but quite clearly doesn’t like or want anything to do with you. Again, very painful, but I find these people carry a certain measure of pain in their lives, and generally need kindness and compassion more than the rest of us.

Many of these awful situations have given me new insight, and made me, I think a better, less judgmental, more loving person.

Maybe I’m most thankful for people who without some terrible circumstance are inertly good and accepting of people…. I’m working on it, but in so much in life I am doubting Thomas. That is, I cannot accept or know until I see it somehow.

“Blessed are those who have not seen and believe.”

Reformatted & Updated pages from staffannouncer.com finding a new home at buffalostories.com
Reformatted & Updated pages from staffannouncer.com finding a new home at buffalostories.com