Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November as national Thanksgiving day. That was in 1863. Various sources claim the first Thanksgiving to be in 1619, 1621, or maybe even 1598.
No matter the day of origin, I’m glad, through recorded history, we know people have given reverence to what is good in their lives.
Meister Eckhart, a medieval German theologian, philosopher, and mystic, said, “If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.”
Irving Berlin, an American composer and lyricist of Jewish heritage, wrote over 1000 songs. In one of his many spectacular melodies, he was thankful for the sun and moonlight rather than money and stuff.
Suppose most people, starting with you and me, could be consistently grateful. In that case, we might have a world of less violence, fewer bullies, more hopefulness, increased kindness, and improved acceptance of opposite points of view. Imagine the quality of your life if you spent more time being grateful. Why is something so simple seemingly tricky?
It seems easier to notice what is wrong and express hatefulness and hurtfulness than to show thankfulness, appreciation, and admiration. Crazy, huh?
It is because some people fear losing, losing a presumed superior edge, losing esteem, losing power, losing respect, and losing self-image. Fear is the root and one of the symptoms of anger. If fear fills our heads, we have less room for gratitude, hope, and awareness of goodness.
The belief that being critical and negative somehow makes one better and more significant is a joke. In reality, it makes a person inferior and quite lonesome. I don’t want to be surrounded by curmudgeons who gripe, groan, and complain. I prefer people who know how to smile and feel sincerely grateful for the goodness they enjoy.
Before tomorrow, Thanksgiving Day, I encourage all of us to identify our blessings. We have many! We probably don’t have all we want or maybe even need, but we all have an abundance of things, large and small, for which to be grateful.
I encourage you to make a “Thankful” list. List your blessings—in only five minutes on my computer; I got 71. There is no right or wrong to your list, and nobody else will see it. Just start writing and see what you get. Hopefully, it will help you recognize what you value. On Thanksgiving Day, you can recall many of the items on your list and feel the true sense of the holiday. When finished, Look at your list and ponder the following Native American Saying: “Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.” Thankfulness is perpetual!
Happy Thanksgiving! Remember to put the poor turkey on your list, and don’t forget to kiss the cook.
Until the next time: Live while you live.
Jennifer Goble, Ph.D., LPC, is the author of “My Clients…My Teachers,” and the blogger and writer of Rural Women Stories: www.ruralwomenstories.com.
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