Tomorrow, in our society here in the United States, we will celebrate Thanksgiving Day. This break in our usual life routines has many layers of meaning for us.
Indeed, on one level, we can take stock of where we are in our lives and what we have accumulated and feel a sense of gratitude. This level of reflection, of course, usually means we are comparing our state in life with others – leading to the typically unsaid, but thought – “I am glad I am in better shape then ….” (fill in the blank with several others you know). This thankful attitude tends to keep our competitive juices flowing.
On another level, we can approach this Thanksgiving Day, from a more relational perspective. We feel a sense of gratitude for the many people in our life - family, friends, co-workers – who have given something of themselves to us, improving our sense of well-being. Of course, this level continues to remain on the more, “I feel loved and supported by someone(s), and you don’t” mindset.
An additional level could center around our response to our sense of gratitude. We are motivated to respond in some tangible way to what we have received. We may volunteer at the local soup kitchen to help serve Thanksgiving Dinner to the hungry in our community. Or pass out food and Turkeys at a local church or community center. Moving from thoughts and words to action certainly, has us breaking free from a self-centered attitude. However, often, when the day is over, we fall back into our routines.
For some, the level of gratitude remains primarily on a faith level, where we give thanks to God for whatever we can enumerate in a single prayer. We recognize that our life is but a fraction of a whole that God has ushered into the world. We express our dependence on a higher power that to some degree, has blessed us in some way.
I am sure there are other levels of Thankfulness you may be experiencing. Whatever that focus may be, it is of value to reflect upon it and see if there is a depth to it we may not have yet fully explored.
Cn. Richard Visconti