As the USA celebrates Thanksgiving, I want to reflect on gratitude. It is a vast subject, so I will limit my comments to four matters which stimulate my thankfulness this year.
LOVE I am thankful for love. Not only the love I have received but the love I see so many others extending to ones they love. It is, as the song of my youth declared, a many-splendored thing. It overcomes almost every adversary.
The opposite of love is not hate. It is indifference.
So my prayer of gratitude this Thanksgiving is that we stay in love with each other no matter the obstacles.
ART I am thankful for art. I am grateful for those who transform daily endeavors into expressions of such kindness, joy, and hope that the beauty of everything that surrounds them blooms. I am thankful as well for the creativity of children, which is universal until it is stifled. And for the prodigious talent of those whose art is the epitome of cultural value at the moment.
The opposite of art is not ugliness. It is indifference.
So my prayer of gratitude this Thanksgiving is that music, color, and sensations of profundity infuse us.
FAITH I am thankful for faith. I am grateful for the way faith serves as a center-pole upon which to attach and criticize our understandings and aspirations. I am particularly thankful for diversity of faith as expressed in religions and ecstacy.
The opposite of faith is not heresy. It is indifference.
So my prayer of gratitude this Thanksgiving is that optimistic hope will prevail so that divinity may be recognized when it is encountered.
LIFE I am thankful for life. I am grateful for the opportunity to experience bonding and letting go, stability and change, past and future (without which the present is vapid). I am unspeakably grateful for others who share life in myriad ways. We exist as we coexist. Life is so powerful that our most common view of heaven or life beyond death is reunion with those we loved.
The opposite of life is not death. It is indifference.
So my prayer of gratitude this Thanksgiving is that we expand our concern for every human and sensient being and for the environment that supports us. And I am grateful for you of whom I am thinking and remembering this Thanksgiving.
[And for Elie Wiesel whose memorable quote on indifference appeared in US News and World Report, Oct 27, 1986.]
Image source: Forbes.com
Rev. Dr. Kenneth Dobson posts his weekly reflections on this blog.