We celebrate Thanksgiving once a year, but we can be grateful every day. Even when things go wrong, possibly in a big way, there are things for which to give thanks. Gratitude can be a practice that we repeat regularly, rather than just a holiday or event.
Nightly prayers for our grandkids end with them listing three things for which they are thankful. Even the two year old contributes, although his answers get prompted based on the day’s activities. “Are you thankful being able to jump on the trampoline? For going to the park? For having olives with dinner? For playtime with your sisters?” The children are learning that even when goes wrong, other things go right. The daily habit helps the children recognize and focus on the good in their day, rather than fixating on what went badly.
M. Scott Peck opens The Road Less Traveled by saying: “Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult-once we truly understand and accept it-then life is no longer difficult.” When we admit to the reality of loss, suffering, and death, it helps to transmute it. Acceptance doesn’t mean bad things disappear and everything will be sunshine and roses, but acknowledgement helps develop resilience.
In President Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1789, he explains the holiday’s intent “is to give thanks to almighty God for the favourable interpositions of his Providence including:
- For the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness.
- For the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty
- For the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness
Washington also suggested that on Thanksgiving: “We offer our prayers and supplications … to pardon our national and other transgressions.” With freedom and blessings come responsibility to acknowledge times where we have missed the mark and need to ask forgiveness.
If the only prayer we ever say in our lives is THANK YOU that will be enough. Meister Eckhart
We will all experience tough times. In the aftermath, we can choose hope over despair. A gratitude habit makes it easier to remember that “this too will pass.”
© Joan S Grey, 23 NOV 18
IndexCardCure™: Give thanks for blessings received