by Troy Chapman
No, I’m not dyslexic. It’s just that turning things around sometimes helps me see them in a new and more meaningful way. What if it were Giving Thanks Day rather than Thanksgiving Day? Might it then be a day for thinking of creative ways to show our gratitude to Spirit, the earth and one another? There’s nothing wrong with our traditional ways of celebrating Thanksgiving but maybe this aspect of giving thanks could be added to it. In the interest of that here are some suggestions for giving thanks.
We can give thanks for having enough to eat by helping feed those who don’t. This can be done by donating to a food bank or in other, less orthodox ways. Buy an extra turkey and hand it off to a stranger at the grocery store, or put some money in a Thanksgiving card, write a note and give it to a stranger or leave it on the table in a restaurant. Be creative and if it feels uncomfortable do it anonymously or through a third party.
Give thanks to the earth by walking or riding a bike rather than driving, by recycling or conserving energy or go to catalogchoice.org and take a few minutes to read about and stop the avalanche of catalogs that companies send out every year. Or just go somewhere quiet in nature and say thank you.
Give thanks to the people in your life by making a thanksgiving list and emailing, posting or reading it at your family gathering, church or work. There are countless things that can be done if we think of Thanksgiving as Giving Thanks Day.
You can think of your own because I’m going to shut up now, take my own advice and write out a thanksgiving list.
Troy’s Thanksgiving List
There are too many people to name individually in this list but I am truly grateful for everyone who’s touched my life with your light and goodness. I don’t say this as often as I should, so let me say it here.
• To Maryann, for your love, friendship, wisdom and laughter, for “yes” and a “Freedom Scarf,” for poetry, and for being a person in whom the believer always wins the argument.
• To my mother, for your good love, for life and for a deep and abiding suspicion of conformity.
• To all my family for being survivors and still claiming me after all we’ve been through.
• To Rick and Ro for being a light in the world and for refusing to ever stop believing in goodness.
• To Dan and Charlotte for being good and crazy, in that order, for laughing with me and threatening me with bodily harm if I didn’t read the Harry Potter series.
• To Michael and Sharon for kindness, friendship, faith and humor, and despite the fact that you're now “’Sota People.”
• To Hubert and Marie-Laure for loving the world, for flying across an ocean to come to prison and for being the kind of people who make me want to stand taller and reach farther.
• To Nina for being a true healer, wise woman and gift bearer and for your enormous generosity; to Per and her sons for supporting and giving a bit of her to the rest of the world.
• To Doug for your compassion, basic decency and for serving Christ without wearing him on your sleeve (and for forgiving me when I called your Studebaker a Rambler).
• To Ted for turning life into art and for living the gratitude I’m talking about.
• To John for being an honest lawyer, for telling us the truth at every stage of this process and for just caring.
• To Carla, Lesley, Joanne, Jack, Bob and Janice and all those who support Maryann with your love and friendship. You are lights to me through her.
And last, but certainly not least,
• To all the Friends of Troy, supporters and visitors of Sacred Matters for the ongoing blessing you are in my life and for being a beneficial presence in the world. I thank you for walking in communion and for struggling daily to weave your joys, sorrows, trials, triumphs, hopes and dreams into a web of life in countless unheralded and unnoticed ways. Thank you for being a light in the world.