Earlier this year, I was in Provincetown for my close friends, Brenda and Harriet’s wedding. Ptown is very close to the site of the Pilgrim’s landing, and home to a museum  about those crazy Pilgrims, and their adventures to get here. While my library has many books in it that I’ve had since childhood, one of my favorite books is missing. A small paperback that told the Pilgrim’s story. I remember using it in school to rebut a teacher who was trashing communism, because in the book, it talked about how the Pilgrims, pulled all of their food and produce together and handed it out equitably to all to make it through that first Winter. An idea, I saw being very much like how Communism was being described. This week, a friend on Facebook, commented about the fact that the Pilgrims were responsible for bring religious puritanism to the New World, which he saw as a basis for all of the anti-LGBT sentiment expressed by many across our country. Here too, I don’t see it that way at all. Truly, the Pilgrim’s religious beliefs were more austere, and puritan, but they were fleeing the real religious intolerance in England and Europe, something that many in today’s LGBT movement are seeking to spread rather than counter. A good illustration is the fervor with which some are calling for a boycott of Apple simply because there is an App now in the App store with which they don’t agree. So much for free expression and the First Amendment! The real solution to religious bigotry against Gay, Lesbian Bisexual, Transgender and Queer persons, isn’t to shut down Free Speech. Rather it will come by speaking Truth and adding truth, real stories, and facts to the public discourse to shed light on the bigotry which can only succeed if it is allowed to replace facts and the truth.

There are a number of things I’m thankful for on this Thanksgiving, and the list below isn’t really in any specific order. Each, is “the most important thing,” depending upon the perspective from which the question is asked. The summation of all of these together makes it all worthwhile.

  • I’m grateful for my blog and blog readers. Daily, I get messages, emails, comments and other signs that what I’m doing here is a good thing and it is making a difference for you. I might be blogging, even if no one read it, but knowing that you get something from this is such a gift, and encourages me to work harder and do a better job.
  • I’m grateful for the Constitution and even when the Tea Party crazies try and co-opt it and treat it as if it were a conservative thing that they own, I know that it is there making it possible for my voice to be a part of the whole discourse. Democracy is messy and difficult, and sometimes uncomfortable, and requires that everyone has a place at the table, even those who are fighting against the very notion of having everyone at the table. The Constitution reminds me that I can either become a bully and squelch the opposition or I can rise to the calling of Democracy to fight for Equality.
  • I’m grateful for my partner/boyfriend/other half/lover/lifetime companion, or whatever word you want to use to describe the amazing guy I’m spending my life with, and making a home and family with. Without him, I am a whole person and enough, and with him, I am a whole person and enough. But wirth him, we are more than two individuals, and my life is very rich because of having him as a part of our family. I love him more than I ever thought possible, and I feel accepted and loved back in ways I didn’t know could exist. For the record, he isn’t perfect, and if the truth be told, nor am I. but together what we make is ideal and perfect, even with the imperfections.
  • I’m grateful for my job and having an income that allows me to live a pretty great lifestyle. I know too many who are without a job this year, so I especially note this gratitude.
  • I’m grateful for my trainer and working out at the gym. At a recent visit with my lung specialist, he told me that based only on the numbers from my pulmonary function tests (PFT’s) that I would be close to being on a lung transplant list. but I can do so much and lead a pretty average lifestyle. Yes, I cough and get out of breath, but I am more physically fit than many guys my age, or even younger. Working with a trainer has played a big role in that. She pushes me and helps me accomplish things I never thought possible. She is helping me find more strength and power within me than I ever knew existed. I will most likely never run a marathon, but the sky is the limit is how I see t today, and I wouldn’t have that attitude without my experiences of working with my trainer.
  • I’m grateful for my friends who run the full spectrum from very close and intimate lifelong friends, to those folks on Twitter and Facebook, I talk to, share with, and sometimes argue against.
  • I’m grateful for little things too, like the birds at my feeder. I could watch them for hours.  I’m not so grateful for the squirrels however who won’t leave my feeders alone. Oh, and the electric mattress warmer that makes it easy to crawl under the covers, and hard to get up each morning.
  • I’m grateful to my friend Janet who recently interviewed me for her own blog. The conversation helped me clarify some of my thoughts on Religion, Spirituality, and Faith. Coupled with my gratitude for Tony, and the folks I meditate with each Monday, I have a renewed sense of my spiritual self and my need to keep growing in that realm of my being, though things I’m already doing, like meditation and Buddhist study, but also with things I’m not currently doing and need to find again. This brings me full circle to those crazy Pilgrims and Ptown. While I’m not a fan of everything that made up their Faith practice, I’m glad they chose to seek out a New World where they (and I today) are free.

I wish you the best for your Thanksgiving Holiday.

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