Think back to a year ago today.
Thanksgiving Day was drawing near and you were likely making plans and preparations for where to go and what to eat? You were looking forward to a day of feasting, football and family.
Mine would be predictable.
We would drive a couple of hours to my mother-in-law’s home in Manti, UT. One by one, my wife’s siblings and their children would arrive and the chaos would ensue.
We would spend a couple of hours catching up on small-talk while peeling potatoes and making gravy. Then like clock-work, we would gather around the dinner table, say a prayer of “Thanks”, then gorge ourselves.
Moments later, we would moan and groan about our bellies then scatter throughout the house until we were called back for pie.
A couple of hours would go by and the ensuing yawns would prompt our departure. We’d say our good-bye’s, wish everyone well at Walmart, then pack up our belongings and hit the road back home.
Another Thanksgiving-Day in the books.
Like you, this year will be decidedly different.
This year we’ll be traveling 7,598 miles to India on Thanksgiving Day. When we arrive, we’ll be in a land that is foreign to our culture in just about every way. The least of which, is the American tradition of “giving thanks” on a specific day in November.
How many times did you tell the story of your impending trip and hear: “What? You’re traveling to India on Thanksgiving Day”? (As if your values have somehow been compromised).
Let’s face it. Thanksgiving Day has become a ritual of comfort and excess for most American’s. Apart from spending valuable time with our families, the day really lacks any effort of giving thanks at all. I mean, the whole Walmart opens at 11:00pm thing has pretty much shattered any remaining spiritual connection.
Imagine living a life being thankful daily.
The people of India might be the most thankful people on earth. Many of the Hindu traditions are really about counting one’s blessings and thanking God for them…on a daily basis. Gratitude is considered one of the highest-ranking virtues (dharma) among these folks.
Sure…we live in troubling times. We all face disappointments. Death is certain.
But practicing gratitude daily allows us to lean into life. It’s our access to joy and the realization that life itself is a miracle in the making.
In the Bible, the Apostle Paul takes it to another level. He instructs: “In everything give thanks”. Taken literally, this is hard to imagine. But I’m sure there is one of life’s great mysteries somewhere in there to be unpacked.
The bottom line is this: as our gratitude grows, it gives rise to joy. When practicing gratitude as a way of life, it leaves no room for self-defeating thoughts and behavior. As our joy grows, we are able to be happy without cause. We can rejoice in life itself.
Thank you for joining this Journey of Gratitude and Discovery.
I’m grateful to be one of twenty human beings who have managed to align their schedules and resources to discover India, a place like no other.
I’m grateful for the bond of friendship that will result from our time spent together.
I’m grateful for the life-changing events and discoveries that lie in the days ahead.
And in the spirit of the Apostle Paul, I’m grateful for the imminent surprises that will present themselves as we move through airports, hotels, restaurants, and pathways throughout India.