Thanksgiving is a mindset, not a day

It was a day of reflection, not a bright day, but one pregnant with the portent of rain (and no, I'm not pregnant). Last Reflections by Steve Henderson

I was at the dentist’s office scribbling my way through a tiresome sheaf of forms asking about bladder infections and toenail fungus and an array of physical and mental disorders that had curiously little to do with my teeth, when I realized that I had blanketed the form with no’s, as in, “No, I do not have algebra pre-test anxiety,” and “No, I do not suffer from enlarged prostate.”

Up to that point, it had been a bad day, a discouraging day, one of a series of discouraging days building one upon another, and a dental visit added to the disheartening, dispiriting, dreary grey of gloom that I found myself sinking into (and to those of you eager to point out that I technically ended the last sentence with a preposition, don’t, just . . . don’t).

But the dentist’s office, figuratively, slapped me around. As I surveyed two pages of closely spaced print outlining diseases and disorders that I could potentially have but do not, I stopped feeling sorry for myself long enough to say, “Thanks.”

We have entered a season of thankfulness that encompasses more than one day of overeating and wrestling with a 25-pound bird, kickoff to a purchasing and partying frenzy that is somehow linked to a message and a Messiah totally unrelated to fat men in red suits.

Not that I don’t love Christmas (by the way, I’m not Jewish, so I don’t do Hanukkah, but neither is the purchasing and partying frenzy particularly wrapped around this holiday; if you must object, please remember that aforementioned sentence with the preposition issue), but I think we dispense with Thanksgiving too quickly.

Indeed, Black Friday needs to be renamed, since it is starting earlier and earlier each year, diners barely finishing their third slice of pie before tipping away from the table and belching, “Better go get in line . . . urp . . . tiny little electronic things I gotta have, you know. Ooomph.”

And then come the parties, all requiring sparkly clothes; and the office gifts and the school presents and the church white elephant jumble exchange; and the musical programs and the plays and the interactive living nativity scenes – and the one day on which we bowed our heads and reviewed our blessings that outweigh our griefs and murmured, “Thanks,” before we stabbed the centerpiece, is far away and forgotten. Another year will pass before it comes again.

But there is no rule that limits our saying “Thanks,” to one day a year.

We are not limited to one day, or one thing, in our process of saying Thanks. Polish Pottery by Steve Henderson

Some of us mark a lot of yeses on those dental forms. Some of us have run through our unemployment benefits; others have just learned that we need to apply for them. Many enter the holidays without loved ones who celebrated with us last year. The car is leaking oil and the furnace needs more of it. Food’s going up, gas is obscene, taxes are high, and politics continue to reach a new low. We are tired and scared and worried and anxious and fearful, because life isn’t perfect, and it isn’t fair.

But each breath we take is a gift, one that we cannot buy, charge, grab, wrap, or return. And with that gift, we bless others – with a smile, a joke, a recommendation for a good book, a warm handclasp, an “I love you.”

We all have our problems; we all have our blessings.

Kittens, children, life and hope -- how beautiful they are. Garden Gatherings by Steve Henderson

There are many, many problems, and they fill the rooms of our lives like a stinky wet dog with gas, overwhelming us to the point that we don’t see the blessings, fluffy kittens sleeping in a basket.

How beautiful they are.

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About This Woman Writes

Carolyn Henderson is the marketing manager of Steve Henderson Fine Art. In addition to her This Woman Writes blog, Carolyn writes a regular art column for FineArtNews, an online newsletter for artists and art collectors.
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One Response to Thanksgiving is a mindset, not a day

  1. Good one (all grammatical preposition rules aside), I agree. All my life it’s been more than a day since our church has a special Thanksgiving Day service for individual expressions and testimonies of gratitude, always has. This is on top of our weekly Wednesday testimonial service, so we have lots of opportunity to think on, and recognize all we truly have to be grateful for (or “for which we can be grateful.”) (snicker). Doublethink.
    Thanks for your article, and have a lovely Thanksgiving Day with all of yours.

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