Preparing Thanksgiving

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” ~ G.K. Chesterton

Don’t ask me to explain why, but some of my most random thinking comes while raking leaves and mowing grass. I finally got around to my Thanksgiving preparation To-do list, which meant I spent the evening getting reacquainted with rake, shovel, and wheel barrow. Perhaps it is the complete absorption in a menial task that liberates the mind to meander; whatever the case, thoughts burst into view like bubbles from an underground thermal spring. I contemplated Providence, Christmas gifts to purchase, divine design in alternating seasons, where my business travels will take me the next year, if I chose the best turkey for our family gathering, and who the Astros might secure in the off-season. Physical exertion eventually centers my thinking on physical limitations, which triggers musings about advancing age and how much time I have left on earth. I considered the oddity of being this old without having acquired expertise in any endeavor. How does a man muddle through this much of life without excelling at anything? What will I leave behind more than adequate insurance to provide for my wife’s needS when I’m gone? Is there anything to salvage from whatever time remains?

At the moment my thoughts poised to descend into a downward spiral of self-pity, my wife stepped outside and announced dinner was ready. Her simple statement summoned me back from my self-induced labyrinth of paradise lost. My wife always has that effect on me; she anchors and rescues me from trivial pursuit. What matters most is how I invest my heart in this moment. The root of Thanksgiving is the present, not the past. Only when we find safe footing are we free to appreciate the climb. Take stock of the ordinary glory all around you, and then you will be free to express gratitude for all that came before and what you pray will transpire tomorrow.

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