When I was a child, the lists came easy

Four or five of the same things, always consistent

Mom and Dad and pecan pie

Stuffed animals, best friends, and a really fun movie


Giving thanks meant spouting the list

Not complaining or you’d get extra chores

Writing obligatory lines of gratitude on stationery

Making sure I smiled when shaking hands


Now that I am grown, the things I could name

Have sprouted along with me, an endless monologue

But instead of just writing my one thousand gifts

And calling it a holiday, I am now aware


That Thanksgiving isn’t a feast with loved ones

Or a card to satisfy a homework assignment

It’s an attitude like a heavy breastplate that must be strapped on

And the process each day can take hours


Giving thanks is a battle, the key fight in a larger war

It’s bloody and sweaty and exhausting

It’s ongoing because the enemy stretches like waves on the horizon

And each step makes my muscles scream, “I can’t!”


But each new foot place in front of the other

Is less hard than the last, I found

Each swing of the blade hurts a little less

And habits and disciplines appear


Because my Captain fights beside me

Gleaming white horse thundering forward

We’re all in a war against gratitude and joy

But I know who’s going to win






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