With the long and exhausting political season we've just had, it's easy to forget to offer thanks for the many blessings God has given us. Here are ten things about InsideCatholic.com's first year for which I'm grateful. Please feel free to add your own causes for gratitude in the comments section (about anything, not just the Web site!):
I am thankful to commenters for providing a daily occasion for self-examination and growth in humility. I always look forward to the little -- and often ingenuous -- zingers waiting for me in the comments section. It helps me to see myself as others see me, which is not a bad spiritual exercise.
I am thankful to Bill Donohue for having as much angst as I do after reading the morning news. Just about the time I am wondering if the world is going to spin off its axis, I get a Can-you-believe-this? e-mail from Bill who just read the same damn nonsense in the New York Times.
I am thankful to Brian and Margaret for editing out all my heated rhetoric and over-the-top verbal shots. They say you will always regret what is said in the heat of battle, and the same is true of a writing frenzy. Calmer heads prevail on the editorial staff of InsideCatholic, saving me from sounding like a caricature of the "hyper-conservative Catholic."
I am grateful to Bob Reilly for continuing to expand my musical horizons, even if he has a deaf ear to Korngold. Bob likes counterpoint, and lots of it. If a melody goes on for more than four bars, he starts looking at his watch. One day, though, a melody from Korngold, Delius, Finzi, Vaughn-Williams, or Richard Rodgers will penetrate all that brain matter and knock him off his feet.
I am thankful for Kate Wicker's article on breastfeeding for creating a lively -- and lengthy -- discussion in the comments section. I knew the moment I saw the cover photo that everyone would read the article through its lens -- and oh boy, was that a busy and amusing day on the site!
I am grateful to the game of golf for its constant reminder that I'm in the right profession. I have dreamed the middle-aged male dream of competing against the pros, but every time I think my game has risen a notch, the wind blows the sand back in my face, and I'm just another kid with a stick and a ball having fun.
I am thankful for my 2004 Cadillac CTS for providing a quiet place away from home and dogs to hold radio interviews. Since Daisy, our Goldendoodle, joined forces with Drumstick, our Westie, the sound of barking permeates the house at regular intervals, especially when provoked (as when anyone walks down the sidewalk).
I am grateful to Mark Shea for drawing fire away from me and my unnecessarily earnest political columns. I thought I had the gift for finding the hot buttons of my interlocutors. Then I started reading Mark regularly . . . he makes me wonder if I'm holding back some primordial fire that I'm afraid to unleash.
I am grateful to Rev. Frank Pavone for letting me look at the playlist on his iPod. I promised never to reveal what I saw, but I will say that we share the same bad taste in old pop music. Still, I'm glad to know that, for all his reputation for fire and brimstone, Father Pavone has a sentimental streak.
I am grateful to Zoe and her food activism for inspiring me to reaffirm my commitment to Big Macs. The very idea of "slow food" gives me the creeps. Purgatory will surely require me to sit at dinner with Zoe and her friends, watching them take one hour to eat the salad, cutting the lettuce into little pieces, eating and chewing them one by one. Thus will my vice of impatience be burned away by the time dessert is served.
To all who visit InsideCatholic.com, read our articles, follow the blog, and leave your thoughts and comments, I wish you and yours a blessed Thanksgiving.