"On Thanksgiving Day we acknowledge our dependence."
~William Jennings Bryan
Everyone seems to be getting into the spirit of giving thanks the past couple of days. It always seems to happen around this time of year--Thanksgiving. Racking my mind for something to write about I was inspired by my daughter's blog The Luckiest (http://www.misscandacepk.blogspot.com/) to write a blog about giving thanks, but she did a pretty good job. Last evening we pretty much beat the topic to death at the annual Community Thanksgiving Service in which we gave thanks for just about everything under the sun. Besides, I really do not think people are really interested in my list of things and people that I am thankful for. But, I want everyone to know that I am thankful . . . very, very thankful!
"If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, 'thank you,' that would suffice."
My giving of thanks comes from not people, places, or things, but from relationships. It has been because of relationship to and with people, places, and things that I have reason to give thanks. It has been through relationship that I have been touched and woven into the fabric of the life that is lived by each of us on a daily basis--a tapestry of sorts--that defines me as one of God's children. In these relationships there is witness of my existence, our existence--that our stories mean something more than mere existence. That we have touched life and life has touched us in all of its goodness and darkness--that we have survived. That we our thanks is grounded in our dependence to one another.
One of my most favorite movie quotes comes from Shall We Dance. It is a quote that speaks to this dependence and the power of relationships: "We need a witness to our lives. There's a billion people on the planet... I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you're promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things... all of it, all of the time, every day. You're saying 'Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness'." Relationships validate our existence and that we will not go un-witnessed.
With that having been said, I want to thank all the people, places, and things in my life have blessed my life with relationship. It has been good to have been a part of another's story and life as they have been a part of mine. In this regard there is much to be thankful for--more than I could ever recite in a simple prayer around the table. It is a prayer that spans a lifetime of those relationships that have been weaved through the tapestry that is me. It is a prayer for those who are living and those who are no longer here--those who have gone before me. It is a prayer for those who are to come and touch my life. A prayer for those who are close by and those far away. Without any of these relationships I would not be who I am today or who I will be tomorrow. I depend upon each and every one. Without them there is no reason to give thanks.
Tomorrow as we gather with family and friends, let us take a moment to look around at who is gathered and who is missing . . . to look in one another's eyes . . . and to pause for a minute to join hands, and give thanks for those relationships that have brought us together. And, let us acknowledge that we need each other. In our dependence we discover ourselves and our purpose--to love one another. It all begins with a relationship . . . Amen.