Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, O Lord, and we who are gathered here are aware we have much to be thankful for.
Not that we are in the best of health; we are not. Not that we have no anxieties or burdens to carry, we do. Not that all our days are easy and fulfilled, they are not. Nor that we do not feel a longing for days past, we do.
But we are thankful to be able to express these thoughts and understand they are but a part of the cycle of living: That we can feel alive, and look forward to days ahead, can still feel the uplift of spirit when good things come along, and above all, join in the companionship of family and friends.
We are grateful, O Lord, that we can still feel grateful.
As I’ve mentioned before, I randomly post invocations from the series my grandmother wrote for her synagogue’s senior citizens group. Often, I’m driving when it occurs to me that I haven’t published one in the past week or two.
This evening was one such occasion. Driving home, twenty days after writing a blog titled, “Reminded as to Why I Should be More Grateful,” it dawned on me that I should share another of her invocations.
I was amused to learn it dealt with gratitude! What struck me was the final statement, “grateful that we can still feel grateful.”
We experience emotions – whether positive or negative – with scarcely a thought about the miraculous capacity to have feelings. I look at my cats. They have about four emotions: Elation (usually tied to catnip), satisfaction (eating or laying in the sun), needy or grumpy. The latter two tend to dominate.
But as humans, we have a wealth of emotions that shape our lives. We have degrees of happiness and sadness. Jubilation when in love or holding a newborn. Heartbreak over a loss. Contentment after a good meal or spending time with good friends and family. We can be ambiguous or bewildered one moment and enlightened and confident the next.
Indeed, we should be grateful for the ability to feel, express, and experience the cycles of our lives.