As I was preparing myself for Thanksgiving and Advent, I wondered what I could write about for this week’s reflection. As I scrolled through some of my Facebook memories, I came across a quote from Thich Nhat Hanh. It is rather lengthy, but these few lines really struck me:
“The blue sky, the white clouds, the gentle breezes, the delightful rains, political stability, free speech, good schools for children, beautiful flowers, and good health... These are the positive ingredients of peace and happiness that exist alongside the negative ingredients. But if, day after day, we are only in contact with our anxieties and our anger about what is ugly and corrupt, we will lose our joy and our ability to serve others.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh from Transformation and Healing.
Somehow, during these past few months, it seems to me that “we are only in contact with our anxieties and our anger about what is ugly and corrupt…” Things aren’t the same right now. We might be saying to ourselves, “We can’t do this and have to do that. And, Thanksgiving -- that’s our special family time! What do you mean we can only have ten people! Why can’t I travel?” It appears to me that all of these questions are self-centered, rather than other-centered. We are becoming very weary of the present situation, but if we only look at the down side, we are doomed to failure. It’s important for us to remember to give thanks and praise God for all that is good in our lives. Once we “lose our joy,” we are unable to serve and be for others.
Each of us has much to be thankful for this year. Perhaps we just need to dig a little deeper to find our gratitude. Can we take the time to sit with those we are with and create a litany of things we are grateful for? What are the positive things that have happened to us and for us during these past months? I can offer many examples but each of us needs to search our soul and create that litany. It may be different than years past but it will be real and holy. The gift is that they may all be simple things. Like the old Shaker song goes, “Tis the gift to be simple, ‘tis the gift to be free, ‘tis the gift to come down to where we ought to be. And when we find ourselves in the place just right, ‘twill be in the valley of love and delight.”
I wish you an early Thanksgiving and encourage you to create your list of thankfulness, remembering that God is always with us -- we only need recognize His presence. So take it from here and have a blessed Thanksgiving next week, however you celebrate!
Till next week,