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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Giving Thanks & Wondering

There must be countless ways to give thanks besides getting together with gobs of food. Couldn't the spirit of thanks find expression in a place of minimization, solitude and fasting?

Is the absence of work and the presence of gobblers the essence of gratitude? Many work during and on holidays, some by choice. Are they ungrateful, unhappy? I'm sure some are appreciative while doing so.

Holidays are holy days. What about those 300+ unofficial, non-nationalized holidays? How do we give thanks for anything at anytime? By satisfying ourselves, buying each other presents, feeding each other or by using our gifts and talents and sharing them with those who need them or by investing in self improvement more than home improvement?

What do we give thanks for? What we have or what we give or some of both? Are we thankful for life and opportunity? Do we wish each other well every day with the festiveness of holiday fever? Do we encourage and require each other to be better. Do we abide by the golden rule, the greatest commandment or the second greatest? Do we stop lying to ourselves (the source of every outward lie and root of evil) and seek satisfaction in our spirit? Do we pursue our purposes and use our gifts?

Over the years, I get the sense that sometimes our method of giving thanks has an obligatory component. There's a pressure to participate rather than pleasure. I gotta cook. I gotta shop. I gotta decorate. I gotta travel. I gotta deal with that relative. I ain't gonna get no rest, etc...What do we really give thanks for? That it's over? To be able to return to our routines? To be able to go back to work and rest? To be able to replenish our other resources?

What are we thankful for now, three days after one of the biggest events of our seasonal lives? I am thankful for flexibility, options and individuality. I'm thankful to be able to help in moments of need and not when it's convenient. I am thankful for spontaneous kindness that is empathized, even if by imagining and wondering, “how would I...?” or “what if I...?”

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