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I spent some time on YouTube yesterday, seeking inspiration for a Thanksgiving reflection. While there was plenty to choose from — of all shapes and sizes, in poor taste and good — I settled on “Thanksgiving” by American pianist George Winston. I invite you for a moment to close your eyes, and simply drink it in:
There is a dimension of Thanksgiving that goes higher than its history, deeper than the Detroit Lions, and further than the fowl that may grace our family table. It is more than just a day to take stock and count our blessings, although such an exercise has value.
I’ve not lived as much life as some, and I’ve lived more life than many. The music plays, and with each turn of the page I see images of a lifetime, memories of happy times and sad, faces familiar and others that were almost forgotten. Memories, and the emotions they evoke, are treasures to cherish be they bright or bittersweet. Our life is what it is: every moment, every soul, every experience has made us what we are. To discover within ourselves the capacity to be thankful for our lifetime, when so much argues against us to undermine that discovery, takes a spiritual act of will, a courageous choice to be thankful for all that we are, and what has brought us to be, wherever and whatever we are to become. For some, this may be easy while for others it is almost unbearably heartbreaking.
Yet, as I close my eyes, and the notes dance upon my mind, I come to the conclusion that Thanksgiving is about all those who have shaped our lives, guided our steps, and filled those spaces in our hearts. It is for joy, in the midst of all things, that we are here. It is for the love of family and friends in our presence, and a remembrance of precious loved ones no longer present, but with us just the same. And it is about those we’ve yet to meet, and embrace.
Therein lies the heart of this Thanksgiving message: being thankful for a lifetime that was, a life that is, and an eternity that is to come.
May it be so for you and yours.
Image Credit: Flickr user Satya Murthy.