Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Giving Extended Thanks

Thanksgiving Day.  A holiday.  A gathering of friends and family, rarely spent alone.  Feasting on foods of all tastes and colors spread thickly across the table – yet always leaving room for the gluttony of desserts still to come.  The sights and sounds of football games either supplementing or distracting from the meal and the company.  The continuing sounds of conversations, reminiscing, catching up, reacquainting.  Or increasingly instead, people heading out the door for holiday Friday shopping now regrettably moved up into Thursday; buying toys for loved ones trumping time spent actually being with and connecting with those loved ones.

In some instances, a few people will pause to reflect on the bounty and blessings that this day, this meal, this gathering represent.  Thanksgiving has its spiritual component, but it is also a secular, very American, holiday open to all citizens regardless of their ancestral heritage or religious affiliation.  A cooked turkey knows no prejudice.  All of us were once outsiders, with recent or distant family who traveled to these shores for a multiplicity of reasons and ambitions.  We each continue those travels in a spiritual search for universal connection and personal fulfillment of our unique potential.  We thereby pause to express our thanks to those who make our travels possible.

It is perhaps easy to sit at dinner and give gratitude to those close to us gathered at our table.  Certainly we should give thanks to those who are near and dear to us.  It is perhaps more difficult to remember and acknowledge those many others who are not at our table, the forgotten ones who are nevertheless an important part of our life’s journey.  Instead of focusing on the usual smiling faces of our dinner companions, perhaps it is of the faces of those who are far removed from us that attention should be directed.

The farmers and grocers who labored to make available all the food that now sits before us on this Day.  The military and public service people who give us the ability to come together to eat safely in our homes – many of whom are thereby unable to share a table with their own loved ones.  All of the service providers and retailers who help us get through our day and accomplish our many required tasks.  The people who buy the goods and services that we create and thereby sustain us.  Our workmates – peers / subordinates / supervisors at many levels – with whom we are interdependent and labor together to fulfill our work within a Purpose.

The teachers who inspired and challenged us to do bigger things, think bigger thoughts.  The mentors who believed in us and took time to listen and give us worthwhile guidance.  The spiritual teachers, both long past and present, who help us find the real person that lives within, and assist in our connection to the greater Universe.  Our neighbors, far and wide, often faceless and voiceless, whose presence and great diversity keep our vision broad and our ego humbled.

On this Thanksgiving 2013, may we remember and give thanks to that extended family of humankind of which we are most fortunate to be a small part.

© 2013  Randy Bell



Anonymous said...

Nice post on Thanksgiving.

Anonymous said...

Well said, Randy!