For me, everyday is a day to give thanks. If you have ever had a life altering, potentially life ending, event crash in on your "I have it all figured out" life, you know what I mean when I say that.
Looking forward to the turkey, conversation and blessings of going to see family on Thanksgiving is always a highlight of my year. But over the last few years my spiritual path has shifted from Jesus focused to God focused. From one way focused to one love focused. From giving thanks for the food that will nourish our bodies to taking on a posture of gratitude for everything under and including the sun that has brought this meal before me.
As we sat to prepare to dig in to our plates full of annual traditions, a family member began our giving of thanks in prayer. He is such a prayer warrior, such a great guy and, how could I forget, really funny. As he ended his prayer I began to explain my views of how we must consider all that went into bringing this meal before us: the elements, the hands that harvested, the packaging and preparing, and finally the presentation of this beautiful meal.
With his infectious grin my brother looked at me and said, "Am I supposed to thank all the Hispanics who planted it, the Asians who packaged it and the white people who jacked up the prices? By the time I'm done thanking everyone involved my food will be cold!" Everyone else cracked up as I sarcastically replied with, "very funny." For the first Thanksgiving in my life I was, in my heart, thinking of all the people, some possibly from across the globe with varied ethnic backgrounds or roles they played, and the amazing grace of God that brought this food before me. For the first Thanksgiving of my adult life I knew what it was like to be in complete gratitude for everything in my life, right down to the last kernel of corn left on my plate.
As we grow and change and allow ourselves to be stretched in many ways beyond anything we ever imagined, embracing life as a shared experience between all living things, we discover that we are as big a part of this journey as anyone else and on some days as small as we choose to be in the grand scheme. Whether it is a big or small day for us personally, we are a living, breathing, collaborative part of it all.
I pled my case again mid meal explaining that for me it is about so much more than simply giving thanks. My brother looked at me this time with his equally infectious intense eyes and intelligent gaze and said, "I really like that." So, the next time he sits down to give thanks for the meal in front of him I hope he thinks of my words passed along to him, words that were passed along to me by a wonderful loving friend and in turn may he pass them along to another. For this is passing on the true spirit of thanksgiving.