A Thanksgiving Meditation

This Thanksgiving, I’m thinking about the joy to be found in everyday moments. I’m just really grateful for a good dinner party, a well-told story, a beautiful sunset, or an adorable comment from my kids. I think these things aren’t just blessed; they are holy.  

One morning last week, I was home alone and encountered such a moment. The kids had left for school and my wife had left for work and all was quiet. I found myself sitting in my leather chair in the corner of my study. Morning sun was streaming in through the windows. I was sipping coffee from my favorite mug — the big, chunky one with a picture of a Royal Yellow Humpy on the side and a chip out of the rim. I was surrounded by some of my favorite books — I keep a stack of Merton nearby, my soul's version of an asthma inhaler. I had the Bible open in my lap and my loyal dog under my hand. And it occurred to me how blessed the moment was. How right. How holy.  

Twenty years ago, I would have let such a moment slide by without a thought. Ten years ago, I would have tried to capture it with a photo. But last week, I stopped reading, stopped petting the dog, stopped worrying about my schedule for the day, and just accepted. I received the gift of that moment from my Father who delights to give good gifts. And I thanked him.  

And then I went on with my day, because the other lesson I’m learning from these moments is that they are best received and not manufactured. My adolescent desire to hang on to these experiences usually leads to frustration, not holiness. When I try to orchestrate holy, beautiful moments, the result is the same as any other manufactured beauty. Impotent. Hollow. Like mass-produced department store art prints.  

But when beauty is received, it is doubly-valued. And the only reasonable response to gracious gifts from God is gratitude.  

Happy Thanksgiving.