Giving thanks – the theme of the week. Thanksgiving is the American holiday that credits the benevolence of the Natives (who taught the Pilgrims how to harvest), a population of people who go on to be mercilessly slaughtered as “savages.” We needed them to learn to live off the land, yet we killed them because we wanted the land. Why bring this up? Because a mere day of giving thanks and being benevolent is simply not enough.
While I love Thanksgiving and the generous spirit which it elicits, I challenge us to consider living a life of permanent presence with giving and gratitude. What if this Thanksgiving, we take notice of the loving, accepting, forgiving state of our heart, and capture that feeling so that we can call it into being with simple reflection.
Because the spirit of Thanksgiving is worth replicating in our everyday existence. Living with love and gratitude for others, putting aside our differences to gather with grace – that is a true appreciation for the Grace by which we were given life.
It’s simply not enough to be kind and gentle for a day. It’s simply not serving us as the individual, and us at the community, to “forgive those who trespass upon us” on one single day. We can do better! If we believe in Jesus’ teachings, as I do, then we know His word, His resolve, His teachings are not intended for on practice on one single day. He does not suggest the occasional, infrequent act of acceptance and affection. He doesn’t love and forgive us some of the time. His Love is Eternal. And likewise, His message is equally constant: treat each other as we would like to be treated. His challenge, His command is not for some of the time, like at Thanksgiving, but to treat each other with love and respect as a way of life. It is a practice of permanent presence.
Life is temporary. Being alive means “not dead”, but the dictionary also defines it as “having interest and meaning.” Let us define our lives as having meaning because we respect not just our own life, but because we respect and give thanks for all lives.
In a world ripe with our differences on display, let us pray, that we find the way, to practice Thanksgiving in the everyday. Namaste.
With loving gratitudes,