I know that many in the United States will be celebrating with family and friends, and I hope that celebrations will go well. Of course, not everyone feels that this holiday is an occasion for celebration. It is important not to be blind to the historical realities behind the polite fictions that are a part of so many people’s lives.
But today, I don’t want to delve into the rights and wrongs of the past (nor the present). Instead, I would like to focus on the importance of giving thanks – not just for the important people in our lives and the relationships we enjoy, but also for the natural world around us.
I’d also like people to think about what giving thanks really means. Simply saying the words is not always enough. Sometimes, giving thanks is about showing our thankfulness – through reciprocity, through generosity, through small and thoughtful acts of kindness.
We all owe it to those for whose gifts we are thankful – humans – and all other living beings – to find ways to pay it back, and pay it forward, in real, tangible ways.
That might mean doing something thoughtful for a loved one in your life, nurturing and giving back to the soil in a garden that gives us so much, planting a seed or a tree, and becoming its guardian through life, or working to clean and heal our lands, oceans, rivers or shores.
Giving thanks should not just be about making a statement, or a silent thought or prayer. It should be about active acts of repayment and love.