Giving thanks, today and every day

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Today, social media lights up with status updates, tweets and posts about the beauty of life, from as many different perspectives as friends and followers. It’s a precious succession of pearls, lovely little gems that show how truly blessed we all are. Today, we recognize it.

As a nation, we dedicate one day, just one day, to thankfulness. One day in November, we give thanks to whatever deity we choose, to our loved ones, to luck, to whatever fates we play, for this beautiful life we spend the rest of the year alternately cursing and complaining about.

Today, I’m thinking about the choice of happiness. That so many of us choose misery, to wallow in the myriad of cuts we suffer daily. And don’t we suffer? Every one of us can list the injustices done to us, the burdens we bear like a succession of camels climbing up a sandy hill of hatred. Except today. Today, instead we list our blessings, those little notes of sweetness among the bitterness we usually savor.

It’s discordant that we spend so much time chewing our bitter cud, but dedicate just 24 hours to loving the life we’ve been given. And I think about how much more beautiful life would be, how much more peaceful, if instead of complaining about our hurts, we spouted our salves instead. It feels good somewhere beneath the stomach, that place that glows when someone compliments our new glasses, our hairstyles. It’s a place that wiggles when puppies wag their precious tails, when baby birds open their beaks in the spring. It’s a place that we ignore most of the time, or massage with Buzzfeed articles about baby animals once a day for a minute or two, to remind ourselves we’re still alive.

But what if we were alive in that place all the time? I’m as guilty as any, of deadening my spirit to the blessings of waking up every day to a sunrise, to a fresh beginning, and going to bed with the taste of hard work on my tongue. I’m as guilty as any of grumbling all day, of scratching my sores until pain drowns out everything else. But today, I’d like to issue a challenge. To me, to all of us. Let’s think about our blessings in public. Let’s count them like beads on a string every day, instead of piling them all into a gleaming mountain one day a year. I want to climb that mountain one day at a time, sweating the glory of it all year long.

I want us to choose happiness, consistently. What a world will that be, when we’re all glowing the way we do today, except all year long? It’s trite and naive to imagine we can bury our pain all the time; of course I know that. But I don’t think it’s too much to turn our compasses toward beauty, more often than not. It’s always there, waiting behind the clouds. Today, I challenge us all to step into the sun, to search for it the way we dig up the too-prevalent thorns.

Today, I choose the roses.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. May it rain down blessings on you and yours.

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