Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks When Everything Is Changing

It is not an accident that the Thanksgiving holiday comes at the end of one season and the beginning of another. It is a holiday created, first and foremost, to give thanks for having food to eat, and the most powerful time to do that is near the end of the harvest season when the stores of food have reached their maximum size for the year.

You only have to look beyond this particular moment to realize that, as winter wears on, the amount of food that is stored away has to decline. This is the nature of food: we are, every day, deciding how much to eat today and how much to save for tomorrow. If we are giving thanks for food, this can serve as a reminder to be thankful for every fleeting thing that we build our lives out of — to be thankful even when everything is changing.

The tendency, sometimes, is to be disappointed at the things that are no longer here or that are not here yet. Life is sunnier, though, and you live your life in a bigger, bolder way, if you don’t limit your thankfulness to the here and now, or to the most permanent and reliable things you enjoy in your life. This Thanksgiving, be thankful for everything that helped, however briefly, to bring you to where you are. Also be thankful for everything you are prepared to come upon in the future, even though the actual shape of the future is unknown. When everything is changing, you can still feel thankful.