We know of few people whose lives have never been positively influenced by the actions or the words, or sometimes just the presence, of another. To borrow the often quoted adage, “No man is an island.” Neither is any woman nor child. All are surrounded by others whose outreach can lead from acquaintance to friendship and even to love.
Remembering the favor of others and their impact on our lives is what Thanksgiving is all about.
It isn’t about the miracle of Black Friday discounts whose ringing cash registers this year won’t even wait for Friday.
It isn’t about big tables laden with some of the finest home cooking this side of culinary paradise.
It isn’t about two days off work and a four-day weekend.
It isn’t about football, basketball, any ball or no ball.
It isn’t about holiday getaways, backwoods hideaways or getting away from life any ol’ way.
It’s about people.
It’s about what people do.
It’s about what people say and how they say it.
It’s about how people bring joy into our lives.
More importantly, it’s about thanking people who share unseen corners of our hearts in a way that few can fully explain.
Perhaps even most importantly, it’s about expressing an unconditional thankfulness for life and for all it has brought to our doorstep.
In its most basic form, Thanksgiving is exactly what it claims to be. It is a time of giving thanks for all that is given and to those who have given it. Whether for material gifts, for emotional support or for simple acts of kindness, everyone has someone for whom to be thankful.
That’s just our opinion.
Yet others have weighed in as well. A few of the names are familiar, others not so much.
n “Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” — Marcel Proust
n “Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.” — Maya Angelou
n “Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” — Eckhart Tolle
n “We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.” — John F. Kennedy
n “In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” — Albert Schweitzer
n “No one who achieves success does so without the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude.” — Alfred North Whitehead
n “Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you’ll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it.” — Ralph Marston
n “Every time we remember to say ‘thank you,’ we experience nothing less than heaven on earth.” — Sarah Ban Breathnach
Being thankful is a mindset, a personal conviction exclusive to no man, no woman and no child, whether rich, famous, incredibly successful nor unbelievably popular. It is a perspective that we believe is forever best voiced in the words of two well-known reminders.
One comes anonymously: “I was angry because I had no shoes, but then I met a man who had no feet.”
And the other is credited to a lovable character known to most simply as Ziggy: “You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because thorns have roses.”
Thanksgiving is a choice.
We can be thankful for what we have and to those who make us whole, or we can view this gift of life through the cracked lens of hopeless cynicism.
We choose the former.