Saturday, November 7, 2009

Welcome, Janis Susan May

Giving Thanks – An Outdated Custom?

Mention Thanksgiving and our heads fill with visions of family gatherings with surfeits of turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes (with or without marshmallows) and pumpkin pie, generally preceded and followed by football, football and more football. All well and good, but how many of us actually believe the day is more an occasion for gratitude than for gluttony or sport?

Like it or not, we live in a culture that believes in entitlement – we should have all we want because we deserve to have all we want. By that thought process, wanting equates deserving. Why should we feel thankful for what we feel we are supposed to have?

I find that specious reasoning. Just because we feel we deserve – on whatever grounds – something, does not mean we should or will get it. Nothing is guaranteed in this life, not even life itself beyond this moment, which makes everything a gift. Weren’t we all taught as children to say ‘thank you’ for a gift?

On a personal level, I am thankful for so many things – for a loving family who taught me so many things – for a kind and patient husband who supports me in every way possible – for friends who make this world a much better place to live in – for good health and an ever-increasing projected life span – for having been born in a free, capitalistic country where every person could rise to the limit of his abilities and application – for the technology that keeps me warm in the winter and cool in the summer – for my skills, such as they are, and the freedom to use them as I choose… the list could go on and on.

But those are the big things. I am also thankful for the small ones – the smell of coffee in the morning – the sight of a field of daisies – the opportunity to laugh with a baby or tell stories to a child or talk with a teen about their future – the feel of a cat’s rumbling purr when I pet her – watching the pure joy of a little dog when she is taken for a walk – and many, many more.

Every moment of life is a gift. Every day of our lives we are given 86,400 seconds to do with as we will, and to my mind that deserves a great big Thank You. Every day should be a Thanksgiving Day… but please without pumpkin pie. I don’t like pumpkin pie. But when someone gives me some I say ‘thank you’ for it anyway.

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