Last Thursday, households across America paused before carving the turkey to give thanks for the bountiful meal on the holiday table and the bonhomie around it.
We give thanks for this holiday feast, our table overflowing with delicious foods. (And thank you, GlaxoSmithKline for inventing Tums, America’s #1 heartburn medicine).
I call this type of thanks, “quid pro quo thanks,” i.e., we get a windfall or generous gift, and we give back a thanks to the benefactor. It’s appreciation for something given to us, genuine and heartfelt on a day literally designated as a time for Thanks-giving!
What’s different about “giving thanks” is the focus, more of an internal rather than external expression of gratitude. It’s about being thankful for the things we have in our lives that we describe as spirituality, or feelings of love… being thankful at a much deeper level for the good in our lives, the good within us.
Giving-thanks is more intangible; it’s a feeling within rather than a social reaction; a sense of gratitude for a state of being that goes deeper than a response to having a “want” fulfilled.
I fear that I am quibbling, bending the definitions of appreciation and gratitude and being simplistic in distinguishing the external from the internal. But I think you know intuitively the point I am making. Gratitude is different from the fleeting nature of feeling thankful one day of the year.
Thanks giving is important. It acknowledges kindness and charity. It brings out our humble nature. It recognizes there are forces bigger than us that deliver bounty we alone cannot manifest.
Giving thanks is essential. It is at the core of one’s happiness, the source of contentment as we learn to accept what is; it signals satisfaction with what one has, as opposed to striving relentlessly to get what one wants. We give thanks as expressions of love, devotion and commitment towards those who mean the most to us, celebrating our shared experiences and our connection to others.
Last Thursday was Thanksgiving Day. Today is giving thanks day. As is tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow.