My short thanksgiving list …

My top twenty in (sometimes humorously) random order:
1. The gift of life and health, all the more because this year I had successful (and minor) cancer surgery, and because next year I turn sixty (a milestone that causes people to “number their days” as the Psalmist said)
2. My amazing wife, my beloved wonderful unimaginably fantastic adult children, my dont-get-me-started-on-how-extraordinary-they-are grandkids, my sweet mother, my beloved brother and in-laws, nieces and nephews and extended family, each a beautiful gift …
3. That every year is not an election year, and that even many Republicans are sickened by the thought of President Trump
4. For food … and for the soil, rain, sunlight, air, and seasons on which it depends
5. For Pope Francis … and for all the other sane religious leaders whose voices are often drowned out by those whose sanity is less, errrr, substantial.
6. For my favorite possessions – especially my computer, my kayak, my fly rod, my guitars, my herd of tortoises, and my mango trees
7. For birds and other creatures whose company enriches my life is so many ways.
7. For my favorite musicians – a long list that begins with Bruce Cockburn, Bob Dylan, and my singer-songwriter daughter Jodi.
8. For all the people who do their work well every day, improving life for everyone – especially teachers, librarians, people who protect public safety, doctors and especially nurses, pastors and priests and their colleagues, public servants (some politicians belong to this category), sanitation workers, ethical engineers and accountants, and farmworkers (the unsung heroes around the world).
9. That most people use the internet responsibly, unlike the few who constantly put up bogus fake me accounts, spread crazy falsehoods, and troll all our comments sections.
10. For all the people who resist xenophobia, Islamophobia, homophobia, and all the other sociopathic epidemics for which this is a very bad year …
12. For all the people who respond to each tragedy, terrorist attack, war, earthquake, refugee crisis, and bad “breaking news” with prayer, love, grace, and the determination not to be overcome by evil, nor to respond to evil with evil, but rather to overcome evil with good.
13. For the love and grace of God, for the unfathomable good news of Jesus, and for the constant, surrounding, upholding, healing, and inspiring presence of the Holy Spirit.
14. For all the people who read my books, and especially those who underline things they like and recommend them to others.
15. For all the organizations that invited me to speak in 2015. It was a wonderful year!
16. For my closest friends … you know who you are.
17. My ancestors who have gone before, and all the saints and elders who inspire me by their words and example.
18. For the beautiful place I live, between the Gulf of Mexico and the Everglades.
19. That in spite of all the free stuff to read on the internet, some people still buy and read books (which I hope they’ll keep doing at least until my next one comes out next year!)
20. For all the people who realize I missed #11, for those who realize I cheated with two #7’s, and for all the other blessings I missed and should have included in this short list …