Once again we arrive at the most popular holiday that transcends ethnic, religious, racial, or other man make divides – Thanksgiving Day, an annual reminder of the innumerable blessings we may easily take for granted throughout the year. Ironically, throughout time, the fewer people seemingly have, the more thankful they are for it, and the more willing they are to share it with others (and vise versa). In our insatiable quest for whatever things or conditions we feel will bring us happiness, we fail to recognize that happiness is found not so much in having whatever (or whomever) we want as in wanting and appreciating whatever we have as well as those with whom we are privileged to share it.
Also ironic is the fact that the freer we become from the physical chains of human bondage, the more enslaved we become by new masters of greed, envy, selfishness, egos, and various other self-destructing attitudes and habits. We will always experience instability and perpetual discontent while constantly comparing our accomplishments with those who have more, as no matter what we acquire, there will always be those with more. Consequently, we will constantly seek someone to blame for our continuous state of self-imposed slavery from the much harder-to-unshackle chains on the brain. Such psychological shackles blind us to every kind word and deed offered to us by others, whether of a different or same race, religion or family. The result is a continuously mounting lack of appreciation and subsequent respect for anything or anyone which not only stunts our social, economic, and spiritual growth but has a trickle-down effect on our posterity.
The healthiest attitude one could ever acquire is acknowledgment and appreciation of all the innumerable blessings, great and small that we each take for granted every hour of every day. This will in turn add up to an ever-increasing appreciation of their Source and a perpetual attitude of gratitude. With an attitude of gratitude, one counts the gains and not the losses, the blessings and not the crosses. Through an attitude of gratitude, one becomes emancipated from the inevitable suppressions and depressions of life and becomes more cognizant and appreciative of the incomparable beauty and order of nature and of the unimaginable opportunities which constantly surround us, especially in this comparatively new nation in spite of its innumerable inequities.
Without appreciation, there can be no respect. Without respect, there can be no order in one’s life. Disrespect breeds disrespect, hatred, and warring mentalities on every level of society.
All of nature respects its Creator. Only mankind, having been given the dangerous weapon of free choice, chooses to disrespect his Creator and His creation not only by not aspiring to become all one is capable of being but by failing to encourage and often actually impeding the progress of others attempting to do so.
This Thanksgiving, as we gather with family and friends around the dinner table, may we not continue to pray til God hears us, but until we hear God and His will. May we pray not for lighter burdens but for stronger backs. Especially during this season and throughout the year may we remember the charge of God through His newest messenger, Baha’u’llah.
“O rich ones of the earth! (whether in wealth, health, knowledge, or other blessings). The poor in your midst are My trust. Guard ye My trust.”
The truest thanksgiving one can offer is perpetual thanks-living.