When I turned fifty, I declared to friends and family that my intention was to become even more earnest. That might sound simple, or even simplistic, but in a world of ever-escalating cynicism, it was the most courageous resolution I could imagine.
As Ferris Bueller reminds us, life moves pretty fast. Before we know it, we’re in grown-up mode, and from there it can be a slippery slope to mortgage calculations and Twitter trolls and lumpy mashed potatoes.
And yet, we have choices, all day, every day.
We can sing along to the surprisingly great soundtrack in the grocery store.
We can opt for compassion over clever barbs.
We can buy a gadget whose only purpose is to send love notes.
We can refuse to hide behind jargon when questions also demand humanity.
We can fill paper turkey feathers with gratitudes big and small.
Dear ones, we need not display maximum cheesiness, or oblivious good cheer.
But let us be earnest.
My favorite writer on gratefulness is Brother David Steindl-Rast, who also reminds us that the common root for human, humor, humility, and humus is “hum” – of the earth. The volume of his Essential Writings is a great introduction to Brother David’s wisdom.