Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

My Thanksgiving thanksgiving 2010

Hodu L’Adonai Ki Tov Ki L’Olam Chasdo

The theme of this Thanksgiving thanksgiving was to be the things we take for granted. I was going to wax eloquent about traffic lights and baggage handlers and the like, and I still may do that, but it dawned on me as I meditated upon the things we take for, actually reality rushed in on me as our latest grandson was born, that we take nearly everything for granted. To be truly thankful every moment would be to fully appreciate, and give thanks for, every breath, every heartbeat, every morsel of sustenance, every drop of water, every beam of sunshine, every rotation of an earth positioned exactly the right distance from the sun.
Yet, I am extremely thankful for one day on which we can all remember to express the things that come to mind for which we are thankful. Since nearly everything in this world is worthy of thanksgiving in one way or another, we never run out of things for which we are thankful, and it is wonderful to hear what our friends and families are thankful for.

So let me start with life—that life that came springing forth from the love of Ryan and Ellie and the Spirit of Life—three partners, not two, bringing a new measure of goodness into this world. Presently unnamed, but soon he will be called by his name; a prophecy will be spoken over him to give him direction in his life. Our prayer is that he will become all that he is named to be, is meant to be, to bring the greatest goodness with him into this plane of existence. For life, we give thanks.

Without them we could not communicate, but furthermore, without them there would be nothing to communicate about. They are not arbitrary descriptions of things. They are the underpinnings of things. Without words, there would be no things. Things are spoken into being. With words we weave wonderful warp and woof with regard to other words. For words, we give thanks.

Words lie cold on a piece of paper or a computer screen until breath is applied. Breath was applied to red clay, and living being was the result. Applied to consonants, breath brings words to life. Things become. Thoughts arise. Ideas dance. Actions emerge. Breath ought not, but can, bring death. Let not our breath blow out the candle of another. Breathe life. Speak life. Bring life. For breath, we give thanks.

The first place to speak life, the place of receiving life is family. The place, when you go there, they have to take you in. If we’re fortunate, they want to take us in. I am very fortunate and thankful for all my family. We should love everyone, but we cannot love everyone with the utmost intensity. Grandpas, grandmas, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, daughters, sons, aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, out-laws, friends of family. Families give us that place to love to our uttermost. For families, we are thankful. For family, we give thanks.

The harmonies of instruments in a fine orchestral piece, the blending of voices in an a cappella choir, hymns of grateful praise raised on high, a joyful shout, the haunting strains of early chant, the close intervals of Barbershop and Sweet Adelines, the rock beat, the jazz improvisation, the sweet, angelic harmonies of polyphonic sound, music is all around us. All we have to do is listen!

Yet music is more and more is music; the music of the spheres, they called it. The underlying harmony and beauty of the universe is musical and fills us with awe and wonder and reminds us of its Orderer, its Harmonizer. As the movie August Rush puts it, “You know what music is? God's little reminder that there's something else besides us in this universe: harmonic connection between all living beings, everywhere, even the stars."

Electrons and their harnessing allow me to type this message to all of you on my binary machine called a computer. First of all, the electrons in my brain have to transmit the messages to the motor parts of the body. Electrons in the electro-magnetic spectrum allow me to wing these words to you at the speed of light. Electrons at your location allow the words to be reproduced so that new things can come into existence as the electrons in your body reach your brain and produce thought. For electrons (and for light, with its speed) we give thanks.

Traffic lights bring order to chaos. Have you ever been at an intersection when the traffic light is out of order? Chaotic! Think of how slowly things would move on our streets and highways without traffic lights. And speaking of out of order, traffic lights are rarely out of order. Either the traffic-light-bulb changing guys are extremely efficient or the traffic light bulbs are very long-lasting. Traffic lights are operable over 99.9 percent of the time. For traffic lights, we give thanks.

We send our words around the world at the speed of light, and we send our bodies hither and yon at speeds that would boggle our ancestors’ minds. Yet do we take for granted the people who make this possible? I’m talking about those who mine the metals, make the plastics, build the engines and door panels and light bulbs, who maintain the vehicles, who drill the oil, who build the pipelines, who produce the gas, who lay the tracks, who fly the plane, who serve the drinks, who conduct the train, who print the tickets, who sell the tickets, who produce the flyers that tell us when the planes and trains depart the ports and stations, who build the terminals, who make the schedules, and of course, who handle our baggage so ably almost all of the time. We ought not forget all of those nor the materials that have been given to them to do the jobs they do, whether physical or mental or motivational. For all of our modes of transportation, even the hands and legs we use to crawl or walk, we give thanks.

Resolved, to be more aware, day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment of the infinitely many, innumerable, we can’t count that high, lots and lots of, things to be thankful for, and especially for each and every one of you.

Come, ye thankful people, come!
Hodu, Hodu, Hodu L’Adonai Ki Tov Ki L’Olam Chasdo.
Memories of Thanksgivings past:

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