Leftover Thanksgiving

How was your Thanksgiving? Do you have anything left over for today?

If you were one of the people in line at the restaurant yesterday, the one that half-way circled the building, what did you observe while you waited? I think I experienced a new definition of crowd sourcing or maybe it was the antithesis of it. Crowd sourcing is most notable for problem solving techniques accomplished by bringing ideas and strategies together in an online forum. The line was formed and in the crowd there was certainly demonstration of ideas and strategy. I saw the warning look flash across faces when a suspect threatened to cut into protected territory ‘the line’.  The problem, though, was artificial. Problem: how-to-get-to-the-buffet-table- before-the-food-is-gone  Seriously? There was no problem to solve. Food was plentiful.

For anyone who snapped at another person because they might step ahead of you in line, putting them one link in the chain closer to the buffet, I have to ask why. What was so critical that pushing was necessary and insulting words spoken? Food at the buffet was supplied in abundance when we arrived and the tables were still overflowing when we left. Our food was hot, it was delicious, and in nearly infinite supply. There was no evidence of starvation in the crowd.

I had to ask myself why all the pushing; why all the territorial barriers; why is it that when we have so much, we think it’s never enough? How do we build up these images of desperate need in our minds, when we already have it; the need has been met? There’s that human nature tendency toward greed again. I blame it on marketing. We are bombarded with messages that urge us to want more, even be entitled to more. If we don’t want it, it’s because we haven’t heard about it yet. “It’s available, therefore I want it.”  We need to act fast, better get it before it’s gone; when in fact the supply is rarely depleted. Think about it.  Isn’t it true that sometimes waiting is an advantage?

I’m not talking about our desire to have fulfillment and wanting things that will improve our quality of life. We will always have needs.  It’s OK to want. It’s not OK to be so obsessed with want that we are consumed by greed and become cruel. The season of Thanksgiving should be just that – a season when we are thankful. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 “Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.”  If we could all look around us and appreciate what we already have, our lives will improve. Gratitude from the heart changes our perspective on everything. The one day for Thanksgiving reproduces thanksLiving.

It’s OK to want, but in that wanting, let’s assess what we are already blessed with. If this seems difficult, start a thankful list. It begins with the words, “I am thankful for …” then just write it down. Item one – written.  Now go on to the next item and the next. If this seems silly or uncomfortable – I wonder why. Some of us started our thankful list with a piece of paper and have since moved on to a notebook. In our toolbox for life, we need the thankful list. In dark days when thankfulness is buried under layers of strife and discontent, dig up the ‘thankful list’ and start reading. The thought that begins in the mind embeds itself in the heart.  When you get the inside right, the outside will take care of itself. ThanksLiving.

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