Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I'm thankful for...

By S. Derrickson Moore
LAS CRUCES — For many of us, this has been a very tough year. There have been mysterious illnesses, continuing wars, disastrous environmental accidents and catastrophes and some difficult unemployment and economic issues.
This year, most everyone seems to know someone who has been personally touched by Borderland violence, or even suffered the death of someone they know, in Juárez, our Borderland neighbor that has been termed the murder capital of the world.
I have many friends and relatives with American Indian roots who have never been too thrilled about celebrating Thanksgiving, when they ponder the consequences of that original generosity to desperate newcomers.
They find more truth than comedy in Jon Stewart’s caustic quip: “I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land.”
When I think of Thanksgiving 2010, the first thing that came to mind was a quote from my spiritual mentor Tenny Hale: “Ah, for an unmixed blessing for once.”
When blessings seem hardest to find is the time we need to work hardest on our attitudes of gratitude.
I started with simple things, in my own neighborhood. For instance, I know many Las Cruces Farmers & Crafts Market vendors were sad to vacate their old Downtown Mall site, but the market seems to be better than ever, ranking high in polls and growing.
I’m sad that my favorite downtown tree seems destined for destruction, but I was happy to see so many citizens speaking up for our leafy green amigos. I’m glad to see a city commitment to plant and transplant so many trees in the downtown area.
And I was heartened by Flo Hosa Dougherty’s campaign to make something beautiful out of her favorite Chinese pistache, which met the ax during the current phase of downtown renovations. Stop by Blue Gate Gallery and see the tree’s lovely wood, resurrected as everything from jewelry to furniture and a bear sculpture.
Musician, singer-songwriter and wood artisan Eddy Harrison is even crafting a guitar. Maybe we can recruit talented souls to create wooden flutes, drums and other instruments and end up with a whole band or orchestra. Our desert hills could be alive with the sounds of Chinese pistache music for generations to come.
This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful I live in a community of inventive souls like Flo and talented artists who help express her creative vision.
Though it’s been a challenging year, I’ve found that every time I started to work up enthusiastic complaints, the universe delivered someone who severely outclassed me in the misery department.
That old line, “I cried because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet,” came to mind a lot.
Actually, I have lots of shoes. More than I need, I realized, and felt better after I gave some of them away to worthy causes.
In fact, though times are still tough, they’re improving, and in the worst of times, most of us have rather high-class worries compared to the rest of the world.
This Thanksgiving, I’m grateful that most of my loved ones are still alive and are finding creative ways to heal and help others. I’m thankful I got to know and spend time with some wonderful souls who have since moved on to other realms.
I’m grateful to live in America in general and milagro-filled Las Cruces in particular.
I’m pleased that the more I count my blessings, the more I find to count.
And when it comes time for eloquent sentiments on turkey day, I’m going to remember Meister Eckhart’s simple but powerful advice: “If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.”
Thank you. And happy Thanksgiving.

S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at (575) 541-5450

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