I wish you a Thanksgiving filled with love and joy.  And on this day, I post here a short piece from the book, Earth Prayers From Around the World edited by Elizabeth Roberts.

     “At the heart of Earth Prayer is a sense of belonging.  Belonging is the basic truth of our existence.  We belong here.  Life belongs here. 

     “Likewise, at the heart of gratefulness, in its deepest sense, we also find an expression of belonging.  When we say, “Thank you,” we really are saying, “We belong together.”  That is why we sometimes find it so difficult to say “Thank you”–because we don’t want to acknowledge our interdependence.  We don’t want to be obliged.  But in a healthy society that is exactly what we seek:  mutual obligations.  Everyone is obliged to everyone and everything else;  we all belong together, we are of each other.  In this awareness we are freed from self-preoccupation–and only then, emptied of self, can we be filled with thanks.

     “As Brother David Steindl-Rast tells us, “Love wholeheartedly, be surprised, give thanks and praise–then you will discover the fullness of your life.”

     “Within this human impulse to gratitude flow the vast cycles of universal reciprocity–for everything that is taken, something has to be given in return.  If you merely take in a breath and stop there, you will die.  Likewise if you merely breathe out.  Life is not giving or taking, but give and take.  This is the dynamic expression of universal belonging expressed in our thanksgiving.

We give-away our thanks to the earth
     which gives us our home.
We give-away our thanks to the rivers and lakes
     which give-away their water.
We give-away our thanks to the trees
     which give-away fruit and nuts. . . . .

We beings on earth:  the trees, the animals, the wind
     and the rivers give-away to one another
     so all is in balance. . . . . .
[Dolores LaChapelle]

     “In the midst of a pragmatic world in which we constantly ask ourselves how “useful” things are, these prayers may seem “useless.”  Yet perhaps the greatest gift we humans have to offer the rest of creation is our heartfelt appreciation.  The ability to receive in thankfulness the blessings of life is an awesome quality.  We alone on this planet can reflect on all that surrounds us and through our loving recognition the rest of the Earth achieves a deep fulfillment.

     “Our praise and thanksgiving are as essential a part of life’s give and take as are the cycles of oxygen and water or any other nourishment flowing through the biosphere.  For millennia prayers and songs. . . .have been offered up to celebrate the miracle of existence of which we are part.  May their voices join our own.”–Elizabeth Roberts 







photo by Ken Day

photo by Ken Day

5 Responses to “Thanksgiving”

  1. Tanya Says:

    What a lovely piece to read on Thanksgiving! Thank you, April.

  2. Joan Brundage Says:

    Thanks for the Thanksgiving Day Reflection. Very meaningful for me! Have a grateful Thanksgiving!

  3. Betsy Says:

    It is so true, thank you for expressing this truth so beautifully. This interdependence we can prove to ourselves by taking a small and simple thing we use or consume in our daily life and in our thoughts reconstruct how it came to be in our possession, whose efforts transported it, sold it, manufactured it, harvested it, etc. All the people who had to add their labor or thought to result in its present state. This exercise leads one to the thought that it is through the love and effort of others that we can carry on our own work! Gratitude brings us grace and love.

  4. Jude Cresswell Says:

    Thanks for this Betsy. Its beautiful.

  5. Livvie Mellan Shapiro Says:

    Thanks for doing what you do!

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