Giving Thanks

It’s Thanksgiving Day here in the United States. A day where we celebrate the good times by eating too much, arguing with our family, and maybe going off to wait all night in the cold to buy a cheap television. What’s left of my family went to a local hotel that had a lovely buffet dinner with bottomless champagne.

This may be a little unsteady, due to that last part.

This morning Bonita, a Christian acquaintance who writes A Word Fitly Written, posted this to facebook.

Today I’m thinking, though, that if I were to thank God for a thousand things each day this year, it would only account for such a tiny percentage (if even that) of all I’ve been given, and all I have been blessed with.
Every breath is a miracle.
Every day of life.

Every hug from a child is a blessing.
Every note from a friend.
Every enjoyable conversation is something to take note of.
Every good night’s sleep.
Every dream I hold in my heart.
Every bit of love I’ve been given.
For these and an endless number more, I give thanks to the One Who created all good things and freely gives them to us.

Moments after reading that, I read this in my email from the Poem a Day list.

The Thanksgivings
by Harriet Maxwell Converse

Translated from a traditional Iroquois prayer 

We who are here present thank the Great Spirit that we are here to praise Him.

We thank Him that He has created men and women, and ordered that these beings shall always be living to multiply the earth.

We thank Him for making the earth and giving these beings its products to live on.

We thank Him for the water that comes out of the earth and runs for our lands.

We thank Him for all the animals on the earth.

We thank Him for certain timbers that grow and have fluids coming from them for us all.

We thank Him for the branches of the trees that grow shadows for our shelter.

We thank Him for the beings that come from the west, the thunder and lightning that water the earth.

We thank Him for the light which we call our oldest brother, the sun that works for our good.

We thank Him for all the fruits that grow on the trees and vines.

We thank Him for his goodness in making the forests, and thank all its trees.

We thank Him for the darkness that gives us rest, and for the kind Being of the darkness that gives us light, the moon.

We thank Him for the bright spots in the skies that give us signs, the stars.

We give Him thanks for our supporters, who had charge of our harvests.

We give thanks that the voice of the Great Spirit can still be heard through the words of Ga-ne-o-di-o.

We thank the Great Spirit that we have the privilege of this pleasant occasion.

We give thanks for the persons who can sing the Great Spirit’s music, and hope they will be privileged to continue in his faith.

We thank the Great Spirit for all the persons who perform the ceremonies on this occasion.

I was struck by how similar the sentiment is in the two, even though they share almost nothing in common in the details. To human emotions, the whole is indeed greater than the sum of its parts.

As far as I know, all cultures, everywhere, set aside time to look at the good things in life and appreciate them. For all our differences, in many ways we’re all the same.

I can’t really be thankful for these things, (who would I thank?) but there is nothing listed in either of those prayers that I’m not glad for. And I am certainly thankful to you, dear reader, whomever you are, for reading my words.

I am also thankful to the staff where we had dinner, who kept my champagne glass full at all times. Mind you, this post seemed to have a lot more to it before the champagne, I’d have sworn I had some deep and fascinating cultural observation to make that I just couldn’t remember after dinner. Perhaps it’s better this way, though.

About Leo Tarvi

Mostly fictional.

Posted on November 22, 2012, in Daily Post and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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