by John Colgan-Davis
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. There are so many obvious things to like about it. There are no worries about gifts or dress codes; you are generally with people you like, and, of course, there is food, glorious food. What I really like most about it, though, is that everything in regular life stops, and you have the opportunity to reflect on all of the things that are working in your life and all of the people who have made all of that possible.
Ideally, we are always aware of the role of others in our lives, and we are able to put our struggles in some sort of perspective and recognize that the vast majority of our problems are problems of luxury. And when we are having really hard problems — unemployment, bad health, the death of friends and family, etc. — we are able to find some things that give us hope and make us grateful as we struggle to overcome.
But too often the pace of life and the myriad pulls on us mean that we don’t often find or take the time to engage in true “Thanksgiving.” So it is good that most of the country takes the time to have a ritual that encourages us to look a little more broadly at our lives and to consciously be aware of all that we have to be thankful for.
Of course, this is a perfectly normal human activity; from ancient times on, all cultures and religions have called for a period of time where members gave thanks to the gods for plentiful harvests, good weather and more. But our 21st century often moves too fast, as if there were something wrong with stopping and reflecting and expressing gratitude. So it is good that we as a culture put aside at least one day for this.
Hopefully, we do it for more than just one day. Gratitude is a feeling that helps me to join with the world in a positive way. So as you enjoy your time off from work and your food, I hope you can stop to take notice of all of the people, living and dead, who had a positive role in your life, and of all of the things for which we can be grateful. Do have a joyous Thanksgiving.
John Colgan-Davis, 62, is a long-time Mt. Airy resident, teacher, member of the fabulous local rockin’, bluesy band, Dukes of Destiny, and one of the world’s greatest harmonica players. He says that “Spiritually, I take things from Buddhism, Christianity and Judaism,” but he has “no particular ideology or theology.” You can reach John at firstname.lastname@example.org For information about upcoming Dukes’ performances, visit www.dukesofdestiny.com.