The Congregation at Duke University Chapel


photo of Phyllis

Many years ago I was present with a group of children who were asked to name the things they were thankful for. Several of the children mentioned they were thankful for toys. Trying to get them to think more deeply, the leader responded something like this: “Yes, we are thankful for our toys and other belongings, but those are just things.” The leader then asked, “Is there something besides a ‘thing’ you are thankful for? Perhaps a special person?” One child responded, “I’m thankful for the people who make toys!”

One Thanksgiving Day, about 30 years ago, I thought I didn’t have anything to be thankful for because my beloved Dad was comatose in a nursing home. I forgot to be thankful for his life and the unconditional love he showered on me. I forgot to be thankful for the care he was receiving as he neared the end of his life. And frankly, I forgot to notice the beautifully colored fall leaves as they fluttered down from the trees on the breezy fall days. There was so much I forgot about being thankful.

As we give thanks this Thanksgiving Day, and all days of the year, can we set aside our “things” and current life circumstances? Think deeply about what you are thankful for at this point in time. It may not all be full of laughter and happiness, but I guarantee it will be full of joy. 
With Thanksgiving,