Full of Thanks

Thankful. [thangk-fuh l] 
Adj. Filled with gratitude.

I married into one of the best family of in-laws one could hope for, and one of their many praiseworthy characteristics is their Thanksgiving tradition. After giving thanks, each person around the table shares one thing they have been especially thankful for in the past year. This then generates discussion and moulds our meal conversation as one of appreciation for our blessings.

It's marvellous.

This year's dinner is nearly a week away, and I've found myself already looking forward to the tradition for its own sake—not just because it is followed by candied pecans 'n' yams and Gewurtztraminer. And the bird, of course.

There are 3-day, 5-day and 30-day Thank You Challenges circulating my Facebook news feed. There is some positive benefit in these types of campaigns, but I struggle with how social media is such a strong curator of what we fill our thoughts with, that it takes social pressure for us to practice thankfulness—for a span of days...if we remember to post every day. I'm more interested in a spirit of thankfulness, by which one could adopt an attitude to be filled with gratitude, year-round.

Don't get me wrong: I love tradition, and annual holidays. But the thought has struck me: what if we adopted these holiday postures more than once annually? Could we set aside one minute each day to remember how lucky we are to live in a free country? Be generous to the less fortunate in the non-Christmas seasons? Practice thankfulness before every meal?

It's interesting that the synonyms for "thankful" are "beholden" and "obliged". Perhaps the very fact that we are alive—troubles aside—begs the debt, the posture, of gratitude.