We’re not all good at counting our blessings. It’s easy to blame this on the day’s demands and overcommitments.
Counting blessings – taking stock and reflecting – feels like a moment that requires a cup of coffee, a window to gaze out and a moment of uninterrupted quiet. That last one always trips me up.
That is not to say everything passes by without a nod of gratitude. A warm meal. Clean water from the tap. A roof and a warm bed. I take none of that for granted and do think of these things through the day, not just because of some general awareness that many live without them, but also because that reality may be closer to us than we realize.
Long ago I gave up searching for and setting up perfect moments. It’s a fool’s errand. They happen when they happen. But I do cling to one that I hope comes around once a year. It’s Thanksgiving morning. The pie is in the oven, and family time is still a couple hours away.
Here’s the thing about pies. Most of them are ridiculously easy to make, and then all you do is wait 45 minutes or so for the oven to do the rest. You have the momentary gift of time, and by my lights that means a chance for coffee, quiet and reflection – reflection on the blessings beyond counting that fill our lives.
I love all of the American holidays. The Fourth of July is loud and brassy. Memorial Day and Veterans Day are solemn. Thanksgiving – at least in my antiquated conception – is about rest, quiet and profound gratitude. The harvest is in, and we think for at least a minute about abundance.
Another old-fashioned conception of mine is that freedom is not about the current shallow idea of doing whatever one pleases without cost or consequence but rather having the latitude to discern and follow the dictates of one’s own conscience. That is, recognize one’s obligations in the world, and get to it. That freedom is not a small thing, and it should never be taken for granted.
Many around the world do not enjoy that freedom, but we can choose to make a difference or choose to passively watch life’s passing parade, or choose to disengage from it all. That disengagement is at the root of so much of the dysfunction and discord around us.
The pie will come out of the oven, and then it’s time to get back in the game. What will you choose?
Jeff Fox is The Examiner’s editor. Reach him at 816-350-6365 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He’s on Twitter at @FoxEJC.