Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving Reflections

Last Friday while looking out the window at Lake Floyd I enjoyed a brief period of reflection from one of the many places Jamie and I are thankful to call home. We've been incredibly blessed with loving families, with a wonderful community, and with each other.

More than this, we have been able to give our time and energy to meaningful work, to loving our neighbors, and toward a way of living that attempts to scratch the surface of the beautiful way of Jesus of Nazareth.

Today I slept in, and stayed away from the special sales, the shortages, the lines, and the hustle and bustle. As G. K. Chesterton once said, "There are two ways to get enough: one is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less. There are many "things" that we can acquire, and, living in this period of amazing innovations, those 'things' can be pretty cool, but they pale in comparison to the people with whom we get to spend our lives.

Each year at Thanksgiving, whether I write about it or not, I try to carve out some time to look at just a few of the blessings I have received in this relatively short life. I actually try to do this more often than thanksgiving just because I think there is a value in seeing how
much we truly have.

We get marketed many times daily and told about so many things that will "make our life better", but my limited experience (I'm still a young learner on the journey of life) tells me that the 'things' that make our life better are not what people lined up at stores for on Friday morning.

Rather, what makes our life better is a dedication to things like work we find meaningful, to people we love, a sense of purpose in our lives, and an opportunity to serve others rather than be served. This is an amazing world in which we live. I believe that it is filled with treasures that we tend to ignore while looking for something more. As the author Annie Dillard once quipped, "It is a poor person indeed who can't stop to pick up a penny." It's not an easy task, especially with so many entities selling us on other ideas of joy and happiness that aren't nearly as satisfying. My temptation is to write explicitly about what some of these treasures are, but I feel like I may never end this post as I start. Besides, I think there is way more excitement and adventure for each of us if we go out into our world with eyes wide open looking to discover what treasures we may be stumbling over just outside our doors or in our everyday routines.

As we are all amid the throes of the holiday season, I hope you are surrounded by people you love, and that you don't take for granted the little treasures that surround you. Stop, pick them up like pennies, and savor the moments of discovery, of laughter, of healing, and of togetherness.

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