October 2015

For What Are You Thankful?

For what are you thankful? I wasn't asked this question by an Internet survey or a member of the clergy, but rather my publisher asked the question of those authors whose books are being released in November, the month of Thanksgiving. Our answers will appear in that month's newsletter. Although we were instructed that our responses could range from professional to private, given the context of the question, I couldn't help but focus on perhaps the most distinctive trait enjoyed by humanity – the love of stories.

I'm thankful that we have been created as a creating species, and story for me is the most prevalent demonstration of that endowment. Maybe chimpanzees and whales communicate through storytelling, but I know of no evidence that indicates that ability. In contrast, our gift of storytelling goes back to the cave paintings and what appears to be narrative drawings shared by a primitive community.

All of the great religions are founded upon great stories. Even the very holiday of Thanksgiving grows out of a story of a native tribe and early colonists sharing a meal. And like most stories, the ending was better for one set of characters than the other. Which brings me to an observations: our stories distinguish us but shouldn't divide us. In this season of Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for those who work to understand the stories of others. I call them peacemakers, for we cannot have peace without being willing to listen to and understand our different stories.

That's my thankful story and I'm sticking to it.