Here is three minutes of spontaneous and unedited thankfulness.
Saying "Thanks" is the least I can do. First, a thanks for SUFFERING. As I grow older, I realize the benefits that come from this unwanted, unheralded, much maligned experience. Many American churches teach that if you do God's will, you will have health, wealth and prosperity, but on the contrary, I have found that the more you desire to please God, the more apt you are to find suffering around the corner. Now please understand the context of this first thought, I do not presume to say my suffering compares with those I have met in the misery of the Ugandan slums of Kampala, nor in the poverty and hopelessness of countries ravaged by the idealistic and impotent scourge of Communism. I am simply referring to the suffering I have experienced in the context of my life, most of which has been self-inflicted by poor choices on my part. But no matter how the suffering came about-it somehow, thankfully, has proven a path to a closer relationship with my God.
Second, a thanks for DREAMS and MAGIC. Maybe, just maybe, there is a correlation between suffering and the results of choices that lead to saying, "Damn it, no matter what, I choose to believe in dreams and magic and yes, even world peace" instead of wrapping myself up in a psychotic ball of selfishness and hopelessness. Dreams DO come true and the world is filled with magic. We just have to never quit looking for it.
Third, and finally (and certainly this does not pretend to be an exhaustive list of thanks) a thanks for CABINS. Log, slat, batten, old, new, rustic, elegant, in Colorado, Tennessee, North Carolina, Wyoming and Montana - somehow these man-made structures have become sacred spaces where I continue to find God and peace in front of roaring fires and among the mounted remains of deer, elk and bear. With magnificent views of 14ers, ridges, lakes, gulches, the Tetons and cuisine from green chile to Bar-B-Q. I am incredibly thankful to have so many of these retreats at my disposal. I'm also thankful that innately I have realized the vital importance of these cabins to my health and psyche. I'm blessed to encounter the fearful quietness of solitude within these warm and peaceful walls of wood. And in that solitude to fight a sometimes desperate fight with suffering and a fight to continue to believe in dreams and magic and the essence of existence.
P.S. I'm especially thankful to a little blond 13 year old girl from Ringgold, Georgia, my childhood sweetheart who for 30 years has been a fellow believer in dreams and magic and at times has suffered greatly because of it. But who has also chosen to walk with me despite me. Dreamers can be incredibly sucky, brooding, introspective, and very unmagical companions at times. So, I'm humbly thankful for the magic she has shown me for a dream of a lifetime.