Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Another list, plus bonus spiritual content

"Pray? No. I communicate." - Maude, Harold and Maude

"And I'll keep on saying prayers of thanksgiving. I'm not sure whom I'm thanking, but I've become addicted to the act of thanking."
- A. J. Jacobs, The Year of Living Biblically

Yesterday, I finished the book from which this second epigraph was taken. The Year of Living Biblically is a fascinating book that everyone - both religious and not - can learn something from. For those of you unfamiliar, A.J. Jacobs undertakes the massive project of spending a year (which ultimately comes to a year + 2 weeks) of living his life by the literal commandments of The Bible. He refrains from shaving his beard, he wears tassels on the "corners of his garments" (whatever that means), he stones adulterers, and - most interesting to me - he prays. Multiple times a day.

Now, don't get me wrong, this book didn't convince me of anything I didn't already believe. I think that would have been missing the point, actually. But it was fascinating that Jacobs, an agnostic who describes himself in the beginning of his journey as "Jewish in the same way that the Olive Garden is an Italian restaurant," finds himself trying to connect, to communicate with some Higher Power that he may not even believe in. To me, this is the ultimate act of Faith. That's right, people: capital F, Faith.

Not to give too much of the book away, but his favorite prayers are the prayers of thanksgiving. In order to be thankful, one must, by definition, be thankful to someone or something. Somehow, Jacobs puts it all in perspective; it's important to be grateful for the multitude of things we recieve in this life, because it doesn't all come to us just because we deserve it. And to be thankful to someone or something whose existence you may doubt? That, my friends, is Faith.

Here, then, is a list of things for which I am grateful to Whoever's In Charge Around Here:
  • my family
  • my friends (special shout-outs at the moment for Zoe, Mary, Hilary, Chase, Michael, and Brent)
  • my jobs (special shout-outs for my students)
  • a roof over my head
  • food in the fridge and in the cupboard (such abundance!)
  • the educational and experiential opportunities I've been given
  • music
  • NPR
  • books (both religious and secular)
  • coffee
  • the Internet
  • the people who do certain jobs so that people like me don't have to (for example: cleaning public buildings, caring for the sick, teaching math, etc.)
  • forensics
  • stand-up comedy
  • my church, my Faith
  • air conditioning
  • language
As before, it's not an exhaustive list. It is, however, nearly everything I could come up with off the top of my head in the last 2 hours.

Thank You.

1 comment:

Catherine said...

If I could pick one thing off your list and/or from life to be Ultimately Thankful For, it would be air conditioning.

I mean, I love my friends and I tolerate my family and whatever, but if we were stuck on a desert island with no air conditioning and we found a genie in a bottle who was granting wishes, but told me I'd have to sacrifice all my friends and family for all eternity in order to install air conditioning on the island, those suckers would be gone in an instant. Straight up.

<3 CMart