Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving

Nov 26, 2016 by

Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

It’s a couple of days after Thanksgiving, you know when the collective American conscious is past figuring out what they are grateful for this Thanksgiving and are already scrambling for the post-Thanksgiving Black Friday sale rush, and the following just happened. A 60-second conversation with the host at the hotel restaurant while I’m waiting for my table. ¬†We exchange Happy Thanksgiving / Have a Happy Holiday pleasantries, and I ask him the following question:

“What did you figure out that you are truly thankful for and become deeply grateful?”

He started to tell me the same old cliches we all say: “my health, my family, …” but then stopped for an instant and his gaze fumbled into the distance. And everything in the restaurant became silent. Almost as if a blanket had dropped on the voices of everyone in the room. The type of quiet that is unnerving. The kind of quiet that precedes something of importance. I know it was merely a random momentary lull in the conversation of the room, but it felt intentional.

Then I said “when you are truly grateful and appreciative for the gifts you have the good fortune to experience, everything changes. When you live in gratitude, if only for a moment, everything becomes crystal clear.” (Ok, maybe it wasn’t those exact words, but it was close)

The ensuing 60-seconds were about how we don’t truly allow ourselves to feel the awe, joy, and appreciation of us, our world, all of the moments of splendor (small and large) that we have right now, and how it’s so easy to miss everything we deeply care about. We spoke of how everyone, certainly in the United States, fills themselves up with distractions from phones, to games, to work, to food, to alcohol, to … (fill in the blank) so we can avoid the hard questions, but how that also tricks us to missing the moments of grace.

JFK appreciation ThanksgivingSo I asked him again “What could you truly appreciate in your life, not in a superficial, top-soil kind-of-way, but in a deep-in-your-bones, OMG I’m so-lucky-to-have-this, I will miss-it-so-when-it-is-gone kind of way, ” and he stopped, if only for a moment, and felt it. He didn’t tell me. He just looked, nd we both knew he had tasted that for this moment.

It wasn’t a spiritual moment between he and I. It was a philosophical moment between he and I. It was just a truly human moment remembering that living in appreciation is a potent salve for all that aches our soul.

So maybe I didn’t just ask him the question. Maybe I’m asking me that question. Maybe I’m asking you that same question. So can you get out of your own way and truly answer it? Not just for this weekend, but pull it and stretch it for just a moment longer?

See you on the wire

— Steven Cardinale

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