Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Reflections

    Thanksgiving is about honoring what we do have to be thankful for, in spite of all life's challenges.  Friendships where we share common goals, aims, helping one another through life, depending on one another-these are gifts where we give and we receive, and some friends we rarely reach out to, others are vital in our web of living.  The use of computers and social networks gives us access to a broader world so we are part of community even when we may live in our separate abodes, less lonely thanks to being able to touch others with our thoughts.
    Thanksgiving usually evokes memories of earlier years when we gathered with our family clans, or school friends, or families we create as we move away from traditions that served us growing up, but no longer work in such a mobile society.
One of my "traditions" in recent years is listening to our local public radio broadcasts about poems, hymns, and stories of Thanksgivings past, with a focus on the spirit of giving thanks for the blessings we all yearn for-yummy food shared with friends, fellowship, laughter, a vacation even for a day from our usual routines and concerns.  In my family, we honored elders, inviting them to join us when they no longer could prepare a big meal.  We took the time and the effort to show our respects with our actions of including them in this holiday.
    So I do find it disheartening when Black Friday and its insane shopping overshadows our taking the time to give thanks and reach out with kindness to those having a hard time as the days are colder, the nights longer, and aging or exhausted bodies require more attention . Our health care system and tough economic realities leaves many without resources they need to live with basic needs and simple comforts.  We live in austere times, yes, but many simple gestures of caring and sharing don't require money as much as compassion and more gracious choices.  One of our reflections this season may be how can we be open to both giving and receiving in ways where we build community and honor our diverse talents. 

Son and Mom, enjoying Thanksgiving potluck

Mosaic tiles on a walk nearby

Violinists entertaining at Fellowship potluck

    May this be a time for fellowship, fun, and greater tenderness and empathy as we honor what sustains all living creatures in this season of winter, death, and renewal.  Some dreams  we do need to let go of, and others give us hope to keep alive our own passions for living.  Let us count our blessings to live where women and others hurt by current patriarchal ways of neglecting or silencing voices for a more just and peaceful world are finally having the courage and tenacity to speak out for changes we sorely need.  It is time for fresh air and refreshing changes in the winds of change swirling about us all!  Take care, and trust we are not alone!

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