Some musings on this Thanksgiving, 2018.
To be honest, like so many others, I find it much easier to be thankful when I have a lot to be thankful for. I suppose being a truly thankful person would entail being thankful even when most of life was very hard and difficult. I’ve had times like that in my life, and at least as I recall, even then I found things to be thankful for – a loving family and the possibility, at least, of a good future at least. But lots and lots of people don’t have even those. Maybe thankfulness isn’t for everyone.
On the other hand, there are lots and lots of people (I know a number of them, and I know *about* far more) who have masses and masses of good things, unbelievably good things, who aren’t thankful at all. They are simply greedy. No matter how much they have, it is never enough. Instead of being grateful for their good fortune, they relentlessly reflect on how they want more and more, and rather than live lives of gratitude they live self-centered lives as those around whom the rest of the universe is to circle. It’s a pity, for the rest of us (especially if they have any power or influence over us), but even more for them, as they can’t break out of their cocoons.
I wonder if being a thankful person is comparable to being a giving person. For many of us, it is easier to be generous when we have a lot. For me, at least, it is easy to give a lot away if there is a lot still to keep, just as it’s easier to be thankful when there’s nothing much to complain about than when life is hard.
I was thinking this morning of that passage in the Gospels, where Jesus is sitting across from the treasury in the temple and his disciples are amazed at how much money the rich folk are donating; Jesus sees a poor widow who gives a penny to the fund, and he tells his followers that she has donated far more than the wealthy. They gave out of their abundance (and so kept a lot), whereas she gave all she had.
It’s a beautiful lesson. And I think about it in connection with the blog a good deal. I have received donations from $5000 to $5, and I often think that the $5 donation may be truly the more hard, difficult, painful, and generous. And it makes me realize how different we all are, both in terms of our circumstances and out attitudes towards ourselves and others.
Like many of us, I wish I were more thankful and generous, less greedy, self-centered, and oblivious. Maybe reflecting not only on those in need, but also on those who are both generous and thankful despite their need, can help those of us who have lots not only appreciate our lives more and break out of our cocoons more regularly, but develop lives of thankfulness and generosity. That would be a good thing.
And so my random 2018 Thanksgiving thoughts. I hope you have a good day, enjoy the food and drink to the utmost, the presence of family and friends in your life, the memories of good times past, experience thankfulness for what you have, and that you can find a way to extend your thankfulness for yourself to your goodness to others. I hope I do the same.