Happy Thanksgiving!

26 November 2015 · 3 comments

Long-time readers know that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

Despite attempts by retailers to turn the weekend into some sort of extended consumer orgy, I’m grateful that we set aside a day each year to remember the good things we have.

Make no mistake — if you’re reading this, you’re among the world’s wealthy.

Here’s an over-the-top appreciation of the Thanksgiving Day from 1951:

Maybe a bit sappy but certainly sincere.

This year, as in years past, I want to share an 88-year-old poem that I read to myself every Thanksgiving. It does a fine job of encapsulating my philosophy of life. I’ve de-versified it and converted it to prose paragraphs. I like the way it reads this way.

Desiderata

(Max Ehrmann, 1927)

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others — even to the dull and the ignorant — they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

I am thankful for all that I have.

I’m thankful for my health, for my family, for Kim, for our extended safe passage across the U.S. this past year. I’m thankful for good friends and great colleagues. I’m thankful to have found my calling in life, and to be able to do truly meaningful work. And I’m thankful for you, the folks who read what I write.

It’s been a true pleasure getting to know so many of you, and I look forward to making more connections in the future.

Happy Thanksgiving!

1 Laura November 26, 2015 at 06:44

Happy Thanksgiving J.D. and Kim. I am thankful for all that you do for us readers. I am so grateful for having the access to this information so that I can learn from others and live a better life.

2 Charlie January 15, 2016 at 14:34

First time I’ve read that poem & it is a spectacular one. Aside from that I really like your matter-of-fact writing style. I’m not sure if that’s the most accurate description of it, but it surely resonates with me, at least! Hope you continue your travels safely and happily!

Charlie

3 Dorf January 31, 2016 at 01:48

Happy Belated Thanksgiving, J.D.!
About the film: I’m grateful I can see how screwy it is poor Susan has to set the table after school while her brothers get to relax and read!
Interesting insight into the concerns and themes of 1950s America.

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