Thursday, November 26, 2009

On this Thanksgiving Day

It's a foggy Thanksgiving morning here in Charlotte and I awoke with only one thing in mind: gratefulness.

I am grateful that, after many nights of interrupted sleep, last night I slept well and didn't awaken fully until nearly 7 am.

The coffee this morning was strong and sweet. The oatmeal was thick and hot and sweetened with blueberries, soy milk, and a little brown sugar.

I sat at the table and read and journaled peacefully while the rest of the family either slept or did something quiet.

I don't have much cooking to do today; my mother and my niece are whipping up a feast that I need only to make an appearance at.

We seem to have passed through the worst of the most recent storm that descended on our family. There is renewed hope. There is peace.

I have received emails, phone calls, text messages, and even snail mail from friends and family, each one expressing love and encouragement and support and gratitude that I am a part of their lives.

The church service last night was both encouraging and challenging: It's easy to give thanks when our salaries have risen, when there is extra money in the bank and food in the pantry. It's easy to give thanks when the table is overflowing with food and our closets are full of new and top-of-the-line garments.

But for many people, those conditions for giving thanks have not been met this year. For many, jobs and savings and homes have been lost since last Thanksgiving. Health and security and an expectation of more of the same have also been lost.

And here came the challenge: We ought to give thanks even for the little that we have. What we have may not be much. It may be messy. It may be second-hand or leaky, unfashionable or glued together. But in any case, in every case, we have cause for thanksgiving. We have cause for rejoicing.

Giving thanks in all circumstances is not easy, but if we find ways to give thanks, if we begin and end each day counting and naming our many blessings aloud (or in my case in the pages of a journal), then our perspectives are likely to change. Our expectations are likely to change. Our relationships will change as we find reasons to compliment and complement one another. Our speech patterns will change as we seek ways to build one another up and not only criticize one another. Our point of view will change as we seek out blessings and abundance, rather than focusing our attention on what is missing and what we wish we could change. And at the end of the day, at the end of the week, at the end of the month, we will recognize that our souls will have been transformed as well. Because it is impossible to spend that much time seeking and finding the good in every situation, giving thanks in every situation, and not be changed, profoundly changed by the process.

On this Thanksgiving Day, my heart is full of gratitude for all that has been, all that is, and all that is yet to come. Whatever it turns out to be.

Thanks be to God.

1 comment:

Launa said...

That second-to-last paragraph had me weeping in recognition. Perhaps there is a reflexive verb somewhere reminding us that how lucky we are able to feel has less to do with the state of our lives than the state of mind we cultivate by living day to day...