Giving Thanks

“Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion.  Hope without thankfulness is lacking in fine perception.  Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude.  Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road.”  — John Henry Jowett

As a child, I was taught the importance of manners.  My parents often said, “There are essential words that one must learn to use in an appropriate format.”  These terms — please, thank you, and you are welcome – are the niceties that should be practiced by young and old alike.

Although these expressions were routinely used in my childhood home, I never fully comprehended their significance until now.  At this point in my life, expressing my appreciation holds greater meaning than just a response for a kind gesture or a gift bestowed.  These social graces have become more of a spiritual passage than a pleasantry expressed.  This important aspect helps promote a more positive mindset.  These words now contain a greater meaning about living a life filled with gratitude and taking the time to convey the heartfelt sentiment of thankfulness to one and all.

In the past, when I have allowed bitterness to take hold, I seemed to forget the blessings bestowed.  Instead of focusing on that which is good, I delved into a place of negativity.  This switch in perspective blocked me from radiating positive thoughts that enhanced my understanding of giving thanks for all things great and small.  Instead this acrimony permeated the best parts of me — those of my heart and soul.  Over time, it took great effort to move past this phase of rancor and find a healing approach to uplift my self-imposed state of limbo.  As time has marched on, an attitude of gratitude has become my new mantra.

As the holiday season continues, it provides me with the opportunity to call to mind all that I am thankful for.  When I acknowledge all the blessings, I have to stop and smile in recognition.  Not only from the standpoint of owning a lovely home, a beautiful garden, a vehicle, or fine clothes, but of all that encompasses an amazing lifespan.  It is now easier for me to recognize the significance of basking in the sun or admiring a moonlit night.  Or of delighting in flowers that embroider the earth with their brilliant colors while birds chirp their melodious refrains.  I no longer take for granted the laughter of a child at play.  For in it, I have found my own joy rekindled.

As I gather around the table with those I hold most dear, I recollect the humble origins and purpose of the first Thanksgiving.  A gathering to give thanks for the bounty of family, friends, and the offering of fellowship.  So in this season of thanksgiving, I give thanks for all the marvelous wonders that have graced my life.  In recognizing all that is good, I have been able to once again embrace an improved outlook on life.