About thanksgiving, gratitude is more than a meal, unless you don’t have one. Then gratitude won’t save you from starving – but, save someone from starving and gratitude is guaranteed.
We’ve had our thanksgiving already in Canada – the British have too; we get to see this autumnal ritual through our own eyes and yours (or is that through your media?). To American friends, we are thankful for you. Amazed by you. Amazed by your situation. Amazed at your power, your influence and you political malaise …
What are we thankful for, and how does it compare to yours?
I am thankful for my country, but I’d like better weather. I am thankful for freedom, family and fulsomeness. While parts of the world are rife with poverty, disease, bloodshed, ruin and endless bleakness – I am thankful we and our ancestors left those worlds behind for better lives here. Things are varying degrees of tough all over. And we have lots of troubles in our own backyard, but compared to the woes of the few, we are the many. Someone might argue that the ‘few’ of whom I speak are hundreds of millions and they would be right, but when we think about it or research it we find there are fewer than there used to be. While failed regimes, terrorists and bad influences sometimes dominate the news, they are less of a risk to our way of life than ever … and I’m thankful for that.
When I wake up on any given morning I am grateful to wake up. Another day, another chance to make life better – not merely survive, but better for me, for my family, for my country, for my neighbor. Sounds good, right?
But most of us don’t pause first thing, don’t give gratitude on a daily basis – we save it up for days like today that society and Hallmark dedicate as ‘days for being thankful’. Better some than none.
So, are we grateful for reality – our own, or are we happy to ‘have a holiday, some turkey, a gathering and some laughs’ for the sake of having one, or are we just ‘societies going through the motions’?
I remember, when I was growing up, every fall around thanksgiving time my parents would take a drive in the country (I was raised in a small city in the middle of a farming area) to some ‘community hall’ – we would attend a fowl supper. There would be turkey – and chicken, and duck, and every kind of vegetable dish and pie you could imagine. Everything from the ‘horn of plenty’, cooked up by farm wives with big grins and massive aprons – steaming hot food, lots of conversation noise and atmosphere of satisfaction and gratitude, of appreciation of another harvest. They had grain in the bin and jars of preserves to last the winter. We went back to our home in the city, my dad to his job, my mom to her kitchen and I back to school – our thanks-needs satisfied for another year.
I don’t need to go for a drive in search of a meal – I just need to close my eyes and remember that scene, enjoying it over and over in my mind and I’m glad for that experience.