The more that we humans increase our awareness, the more that we need to make adjustments in the way we live and interact. At this time, I am thinking about Thanksgiving. The picture of the so-called first Thanksgiving, I am now aware, was a small pixel taken out of a very large picture. I don’t doubt that there was some sort of a celebratory event which happened between those early settlers and the Native Americans. Of course, it is easy to view history with rose-colored glasses. The subsequent treatment of those native peoples is something that never made it into our history books. It was anything but an attitude of gratitude. However, this short message is not the right place to delve into the matter; we will continue to search for what that truth was as time goes on.
If one looks at the matter of giving thanks from a larger perspective, I cannot find a single culture which does not value the attitude of gratitude. Everyone from the Tibet Buddhists to the Aboriginal people of Australia to the Native Americans to the Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Islam, Judaism) and everyone in between knows that giving thanks is important. Why?
Well for starters, there is the matter of psychology. That attitude helps us to realize that we are not alone. It takes a ‘village’ to get ourselves educated, fed, housed, employed and connected. Knowing that we need each other helps to keep our relationships in a state of healthy connection.
There is also the matter of our emotions. Holding the attitude of gratitude keeps our heart open and our emotions balanced. Giving and receiving is a cycle. When we lose gratitude, it is easy for the cycle to stop working. It’s a downward spiral from there.
There is also the matter of spirit. Ultimately one realizes that there is a creative Source from which all springs. We can call it by a thousand different names. Knowing that we have been given much helps us to have some degree of humility. It is in that state of humility that we can have some happiness in our life.
Nate Pawelek’s ‘Thanksgiving Tree’ is a beautiful reminder that when we name the many gifts in our life we realize that we are blessed. At this season I give thanks for you, the wonderful individuals who make up our community. We are blessed to have this community wherein we share our values, our loves, our lives, our spirits, and our songs! Thank YOU!
Yours always, Rev. Ed