Giving thanks invites reflection, rest, humor, and courage into our lives.
In the autumn, I fall into a reflective season of writing each year. Even as I participate in National Novel Writing Month, I find myself reflecting on my writing: what I write, how I write, why I write. I rejoice over the writing that has gone well (both in success and in personal meaning) and consider the writing that didn’t go well (either not successful, unfinished, or simply hard to write).
I give thanks for those who want to read my writing.
It kind of amazes me that people like both the wildness and the repetition in my writing themes. And I feel honored and thankful to have been able to write and to speak and to share.
I find rest in giving thanks because it is an action and thought process that starts in reflection and moves to giving everything away, a letting go of what has been in gratitude for all that has been a part of my life.
Humor comes into the act of thanksgiving when I let go enough to laugh a little, to find the ludicrous in those moments that I can’t say are really “horrible” moments, but certainly aren’t great ones.
For instance, I am thankful for the moment after I fell on the ice last week while visiting Spokane, Washington (the colder, dryer, more inland part of the state). Okay, maybe not the searing pain in my knees, hands, and back moment, but the moment after that, when I realized, with some embarrassment, that I was swearing a blue streak and I had scared a huge guy experiencing homelessness - he came out from behind a car, wrapped in layers of clothes and a sleeping bag and edged away from me as I flailed on the ground trying to get up.
Maybe that doesn’t sound funny, and I do feel badly that I scared him, but honestly, it made me laugh at that moment and still does. Who knew I was so frightening when I allowed my old natural childhood tongue to come flying out of my mouth? Who knew a short, overweight woman flailing on the ground could scare away a tall, big guy standing on his feet in a parking lot?
For those who don’t know, I actively try not to swear much in my regular life, but when you start your life with those words in your mouth and brain, they don’t just go away easily. I didn’t even know which words were swear words until I was in elementary school, and there were a few I didn’t recognize as bad words until I was in my 40s, and after I had used them in a message at church…. Oh, yes, there’s a story there, but best saved for another day.
.Courage is invited into our lives when we give thanks, because when we reflect on our lives, we can choose to let go of all that has come before, and choose to step into the moment right now, and into the next moment, with an understanding that all of the experiences past, present, and future, are but fleeing moments in a lifetime where we can give thanks and have courage, and live as best as we can - giving grace to ourselves and others, giving thanks for life itself.
Because I love God and have been growing deeper in love with God over my life, I give thanks to God for my life, for my writing, for the awesome family members and friends who encourage me. I give thanks to God for being God, for Jesus as my Savior, and for the Holy Spirit breathing life and peace into my soul.
So, when I say Happy Thanksgiving, I hope you have a nice holiday, but I also hope you have time to give thanks and invite reflection, humor, and courage into your life.