Skip to comments.This Thanksgiving, Give Thanks For What You Have And For What You Have Lost!
Posted on 11/25/2010 10:24:09 AM PST by NYer
This Thanksgiving holiday may be the only one some of us have left, or it may be the most important one some of us will ever have. Lets make the most of it.
From the beginning, this mostly secular holiday has had a somewhat holyday dimension to it. After all, the Pilgrims gave thanks to God, mostly for surviving, but surely for the food they had that helped them to survive and ultimately prosper.
Taking things for granted is an occupational hazard of the human condition. It is easy to forget that all things come from God. Whatever we have is a gift from our Father, Who art in Heaven, and on earth, and in every heart and mind that permits him entrance.
This Thanksgiving some of us are having our own personal struggles, and it is not as easy perhaps to be thankful. Millions of people are nowhere near as well off as they once were. The lines at the local food banks and shelters are longer than they have been in recent times many places. Those of us who are able must help those less fortunate when we can. I spent one Thanksgiving homeless, roaming the streets of Los Angeles when I was younger. I can tell you it is a cold and desolate feeling.
Some of us are mad at God this Thanksgiving. I can understand that, although it doesnt do any good to bang your head against the rock wall of Reality. Some of us dont have what we had last year. I know dozens of people who have lost more than 40-50% of their wealth this past year. I lost my best friend this year. I know what it is to be mad at God too, although it isnt the right thing to do, and it certainly doesnt help. God gave us what we had to begin with.
The Prophets got mad at God at times. They got over it, and so will we.
Some people lost wives, husbands, and children this year. I cant imagine the depths of their suffering, but I sympathize with it. I dont have a wife or children in the normal sense. I acquired a dog ten years ago at a very dark and painful time in my life. He saved my life when he was a puppy by giving me a reason to live. Years later he saved my life from two intruders who broke into my home early one morning. He was my best friend for years. He died tragically from cancer a couple of weeks ago. He bled to death internally and died as I held him on the examination table of the veterinary clinic. He was scared and could hardly breathe as he looked into my eyes.
I was mad at God for taking the only real friend I had for many years; the only one I lived with and could be close to through many dark and troubling years. He was always the same, day in and day out. He loved me unconditionally, and every morning he greeted me as though he hadnt seen me for years, although he slept on the same bed that I did every night of the ten years he was with me.
Its hard to lose things, harder to lose what we love. Yet, it was God who gave us these things from the beginning. I remember that there were over 3,000 sunrises and sunsets that I spent with Sage. He loved to walk with me anyplace we went. He loved to swim more than anything else. He was a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, and it was in his genes to be that way. He was loyal and he was loving, and he is gone, but I am thankful to God for the years He gave me to live with Sage. He always slept with one back leg over my ankle, as though he wanted to keep track of me through the night. He liked to watch football games on television, and sat next to me on the sofa with one paw draped over my leg.
He would often steal my shoes or socks and race joyously through the house and prance and dance until I told him to hand them over, which he always did as though it was his highest and happiest mission in life.
Loss is hard, but sometimes it is only in loss that we realize what weve had, the greatness of the gift and how much it has contributed to our life. Its easy to give thanks when everything goes well. Its easy to love when all is comfortable. Its the highest and best thanks and love when we can do it from a place of loss. Be thankful for what you have, and for what you had, even if it was only for a little while, for as a wise man said, Tis better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.
So, this Thanksgiving lets be thankful indeed for all we have, and for all weve had. It is all evidence of the love and care of God our Father.
Have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving,
Fr. John Corapi
Thanksgiving is only for those who have families or friends. It is a nightmare for those who are alone.
We lost our oldest child recently just as he was bursting out into adulthood. We miss him dearly, but we are taking the message of Father Corapi to heart as we carry on in the amteroom to eternity.
Every parent’s nightmare. I am so sorry for your loss.
St. John of the Cross.
My condolences to you.
Even those that are alone have much to thank God for
One of the truths we see in Scripture is that sometimes we have our greatest spiritual growth during difficult and trying times.. That is when God is most evident if we look..
With the author I believe we need to thank God for the hard times as well as the easy,pleasant ones.. He promises us a rainbow after the storm ..
Be blessed on this one day a year we set aside to give thanks for our lives and for the never ending gift of Gods mercy
I can appreciate your feelings, because I am there. In losing one family, I gained a new one through my parish. Some of those families have invited me to spend Thanksgiving with them. Locally, there are many individuals who volunteer their time to help prepare Thanksgiving meals for the homeless. What a golden opportunity to make new friends and share a meal of gratitude with them.
We come into this world alone and will leave it the same way. What happens in between, is your choice.
So sorry for your loss
You and I posted similar responses at nearly the same time ;-)
Great minds.. The opportunity to both give and be a grateful receiver is a gift that we can share with others .
So often we forget that we bless others when we receive their love and service with gratitude and thanksgiving
Happy Thanksgiving NY’er
Don’t pat yourselves too hard on the back. “Great Minds” LOL. Both gave cookie cut typical responses. You gave nothing just empty repetitive words. You both must be in big cities. Enjoy your turkeys.
I am alone and I had a wonderful Thanksgiving. what did I do?
I helped in serving over 1600 meals at our church. Most of those were meal deliveries to homes, but we had quite a few people come for a sit down meal at our church too.
In other words.........give of yourself, no matter how dry your spiritual well seems. You will be amazed at how quickly the Lord fills it back up.
Did you lose someone this year? Death or Divorce? Separation? Lose a job? Lose money? I am truly sorry and will pray for you.
The church I grew up in had a minister with the same loss except it was his only child. It was a car accident with the son and a bunch of his friends. It took quite some time for the minister to return to the pulpit and it shook his faith to the core. Nevertheless he did return eventually and served as minister for many decades following.
Good for you! You must be a big city dweller. Darn, the closest homeless shelter soup kitchen area would be about 50 miles away down the mountain through curvey dangerous roads.
I’m sorry you feel this way. There are at least four homeless shelters within five miles of my church.
I’m not understanding why you are putting down the idea of giving back to other people.
Care to explain?
I don't see where I was putting down helping others. There are no homeless in my area. They couldn't survive here. The roads to go down the mountain are treacherous especially in bad weather. If anything happened to me there would be no one to help me so I must be careful with what I do and when. Thanksgiving would be different if it were in July.
I've tried churches near and far and there was always the same problem. I don't fit in because I am single, have no children and am not a recovering druggy or alcoholic. People think that because I am single I have all the time in the world and everything is easy because I do not have a family to take care of, worry about. I have no right to complain about anything or ask for any help. A person who is single is a threat to marrieds or there must be something wrong with them for being single. Meanwhile I have only me to depend on everything. I used to help people till I was worn out.
That's bath tragic and yet a blessing. I could see why you would be busy and be filled.
One can choose to marinate in self pity or one can decide bring some joy to someone else and not think about themselves..
“It is in giving that you receive”
It could be that you have made the choice to be alone yesterday by your isolation and self pity the other 364 days of the year..
Look around you, the world is full of people that would welcome a friend