Giving ThanksMonday, October 08, 2012 by: David Root
It’s Thanksgiving Day. Or, as some would prefer to call it: “Turkey Day.”
Let’s talk about that, first.
Yes, many families enjoy a turkey dinner on Thanksgiving. but, really, is it the only time to have turkey?
I know a turkey dinner is a lot of work, but not so much that you would only have it once a year. What about Christmas? Or Easter? Or New Years? Or... just because.
I always wonder when I hear someone call a holiday “Turkey Day” if they do so because that is the highlight for them, or if they just don’t know the proper name of the holiday?
As for Thanksgiving, itself… there is some debate as to whether or not Thanksgiving is considered a “holy-day.”
While Thanksgiving is not actually a Christian holiday in Canada, it does have a close affinity with the Christian church. It is celebrated during the Sunday worship service prior to Thanksgiving Day.
There is an element of Faith to the holiday: being thankful for all we have, and all that God has given us.
There are many who do not share a Faith tradition, but who do celebrate Thanksgiving in much the same spirit.
Whether one celebrates Thanksgiving as part of a Faith tradition, or simply because it’s (for some) a day off work and an excuse to eat turkey, it is good for us to take a moment to recognize all that we have for which we should be thankful.
First of all, we ought to be thankful that we live in one of, if not the, greatest country in the world.
Yes, you can gripe about Harper or McGuinty or Amaroso, or that the “nanny state” won’t let you do whatever you wish, when ever you wish, but if you had a choice, would you live anywhere else?
We have freedoms that people around the world would die for — and have.
When you gripe about our political leaders, do you fear for your freedom, or your life? Is there any repercussion for speaking out against the government?
No, life here in Canada — and in Ontario, and in Salut Ste Marie — is pretty darn good!
Of course, we cannot forget our families and friends.
These days a “family” can take on any of a number of configurations — traditional, nuclear, single-parent, blended. But however one defines their family one is, most often, thankful for them.
Yes I know, only too well, that there are “dysfunctional families,” those who do not get along with one another, who have either lost touch or have chosen to remain apart. I find that sad, but I understand how these things happen, and it makes me all the more thankful the family that I have.
Some would say that friends are like family that you get to choose.
For me, there are different degrees of friendship: acquaintances, casual friends, good friends, best friends, etc. It’s not that one kind of friend is better than another, but that each fits a circumstance in our lives.
I have friends that I made thirty years ago, whom I rarely have contact with, but when I do it is almost as if there has been no intervening time — we just pick up where we left off.
I have friends who are as close to me as a brother or sister would be.
Family or friend, I can only imagine how empty my life would be without them.
Finally, there are the opportunities with which we are presented.
Some would suggest that these opportunities are gifts from God; others would insist that we “make our own luck,” and that opportunities are always available if we choose to seize them.
What do I mean by “opportunities?” Quite simply the circumstance that present themselves that enable something to happen. It could be finding a job, a partner, an education, or a chance to get involved in a worthwhile endeavour. It could be being in the right place to see a rainbow, an eagle, a beautiful sunset, or a child’s smile.
I am truly thankful for so many things, far more than I could list here.
Over the years I have been involved in so many different groups, each at just the right time for the circumstance I found myself in: community service, musical, church-based.
In each I have made friends and built relationships with people from across the country and around the world.
I would have to say that I am even thankful for some of the not-so-good things that have happened: the passing of relatives and friends, and relationships that ended, including my divorce.
Each of these has contributed to developing who I am. We all have to deal with disappointment and loss in our lives, and these have as much influence in shaping our lives as our successes and celebrations.
It is too easy to focus on the negative, and many people do.
Having Thanksgiving as a holiday encourages us to remind ourselves of all the things we for which we should be thankful.
Perhaps, though, we should treat every day as though it was Thanksgiving.
But… that’s just my opinion.