by Elizabeth

We can say thank you in a quiet voice and it lights up the room. Why is it so beautiful to give thanks? Giving thanks is an act of pouring out—of crossing the boundary of your personal self to reach toward another, acknowledging your debt and interrelatedness. The act of pouring out is striking because it paradoxically does not leave you empty. By saying thank-you, you are filled with the spirit of graciousness and you come closer to the true state of knowing that all you have in this life—your face, your vision, your mind, your house, your clothing, your job, your family—is given to you as a gift. When we move about our day understanding in our gut this giftedness, then we live reverently. We handle things with care, because they are on loan—don’t we always make an effort to take extra-special care of something we’ve borrowed? It’s easy enough to make sure the book our neighbor lent us doesn’t get creased; the sweater our boyfriend left us doesn’t get stained. But think of extending this carefulness to everything we touch! Then we pour our morning tea with care, we dress our bodies with care, we sit down in our chairs with care, we walk across the grass with care, we talk to our friends with care, we write our letters and do our homework with care. We take care of ourselves—our bodies, our souls, our minds—and of others, too, because everything is a gift, and it is the nature of gifts to be received joyfully, gratefully, and with a generous dose of care (that is, a desire to protect the gift, keep it in good condition, and use it well). Happy Thanksgiving! Let’s be thankful for the abundance of good gifts in our life.