Catch-up post, part two ...
As this past year has reminded us all, gratitude shouldn't be something that we demonstrate during Thanksgiving alone. Too often I find myself dwelling on the insignificant nuisances of life, only to miss either the bigger picture or those perfectly imperfect moments that make our lives full.
As usual, no Beatles or Stones songs are permitted in the list. Here are my top five:
NUMBER FIVE - Sly & The Family Stone, "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)"
"Mama's so happy / Mana start to cry."
One of my family Thanksgiving traditions is a round-the-horn - adult table, kids table, and grandkids table, alike - to offer our own version of thanks. Tears are often shed before words are even shared - Aunt Linda, I'm looking in your direction. It's a reminder that we can come together, different as we may be, and appreciate the connections among us.
NUMBER FOUR - The Verve, "Lucky Man"
"It's just a change in me / Something in my liberty."
Richard Ashcroft manages to nail the sentiment we all feel when coming of age - our lives are far from perfect, but we gain a stronger confdence in who we are, what's important, and how to express gratitude in what we value.
NUMBER THREE - Sam & Dave, "I Thank You"
"You didn't have to love me like you did, but you did."
Just as important as it is to appreciate what we have, it's equally important to understand our flaws and mistakes along the way; in spite of those missteps, so many of us are blessed with family and friends who stick by our side.
NUMBER TWO - Louis Armstrong, "What a Wonderful World"
"I see friends shaking hands, saying 'How do you do?' / They're really saying, 'I love you'."
I've heard from more than a few friends how they were grateful Thanksgiving wasn't a full-on family affair. The past four years have torn our nation and its families apart. Armstrong's lyric shows us that we can be the kindness we all desperately need by finding simple signs of compassion. This song always leaves me with the feeling that small mouths and large ears can get us through anything.
NUMBER ONE - The Flaming Lips, "Do You Realize??" 
"Instead of saying all of your goodbyes ..."
Arriving just a few months after 9/11, Wayne Coyne managed to capture not only our insignificance to the broader universe, but also the importance of our personal connections to each other. It's a beautiful reminder to be thankful for the people in our lives, and to be unafraid in extra embrace or word of affection. Present over perfection.
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