Our view: The fire of gratitude on Thanksgiving Day

 

 

 

EDITOR'S NOTE: This editorial first appeared in The Dispatch on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 24, 2016.

 

 

Today is Thanksgiving and, if we are entirely honest with ourselves, we will admit that aligning our attitude with the spirit of the holiday sometimes requires some real effort.

 

 

There are years when the fourth Thursday of November finds our hearts full of gratitude and our thanks giving is spontaneous, natural.

 

There are also other Thanksgivings, when our circumstances make a grateful spirit elusive and our thanks seems contrived, even wearisome. In these times, we know we should be thankful and will admit that there is much to be grateful for, which only adds an element of guilt.

 

If you have never experienced the latter emotional state, that time will come. As the poet A.E. Housman noted, "While the sun and moon endure, luck's a chance, but trouble's sure."

 

For those who find themselves in the former camp, whose spirits are in harmony with the holiday, we offer nothing because nothing more is needed.

 

It is for the others, from whom gratitude is in short supply, that we offer our encouragement.

 

For many, the circumstances may be grave, even fearful, on this Thanksgiving Day. You have our sympathy and understanding. Our wish today is that soon those burdens will be lifted and empty hearts will again be filled with gratitude.

 

For others, whose conditions are not so severe yet remain strangely disconnected from a thankful spirit, we offer an observation that may bring a better perspective.

 

We believe that gratitude is a part of the human make-up, an emotion every bit as real and natural as fear or joy or anger.

 

On this Thanksgiving Day, that sense of gratitude may be little more than an ember and there are few things as seemingly useless as an ember. It provides neither warmth nor light. It is little more than a puff of smoke.

 

Yet an ember, as 19th Century theologian Charles Spurgeon noted, can set a world on fire if carefully tended and nourished.

 

So if you find that your spirit is more ember than blaze, take stock and you may find that the things you worry, argue and obsess over most are meaningless when you face a true test.

 

Let that test emerge -- a serious illness in the family, death, separation or the loss of a job or a severe financial setback,-- and you are almost ashamed at how trivial those other cares truly are.

 

And if those cares are trivial in those circumstances, it is equally true they are trivial in all others.

 

Seeing those things which burden our minds as small and temporary allow us expand our view of those things we can appreciate and, slowly, we find the embers kindled and the glow of gratitude soon follows.

 

Some fires will burn brightly today. For others, it may only be a small flame. For others still, it may exist only as an ember. That's OK, too.

 

Whatever your state of your fire -- be it a roaring inferno, a tiny ember or something in between, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.

 

 

 

 

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