Friday, September 16, 2011
More Thoughts on Thanksgiving
I've wondered about it, but never worried. I always knew it was right, even if I couldn't say exactly why. But a few days ago I had an epiphany on the matter. My mistake in the past was thinking of my transgressions and my good qualities (intelligence, kindness, what-have-you) as being two sides of the same coin, when they are not. My good qualities, my circumstances, my life, are all gifts. All that I can do is respond to these gifts. I can respond with gratitude and exercise virtue, or I can respond with ingratitude and commit sin. Those responses are the two sides of the same coin.
When I was little, I remember my mom's explanation of the word create to me: it means to make something out of nothing, so only God can do it. Of course, the word is often used simply as a synonym for produce, or develop, or build, or one of the other many things that people can do, but not out of nothing. I have used the word myself plenty of times in this way. Every time I do, I feel myself cringing just a bit, because I know I'm using it wrong.
My recent discovery that everything I do is a response goes hand-in-hand with the whole creation business. If I can't make something out of nothing, I surely cannot possess a quality of my own volition. But, just as I can make a beautiful meal out of delicious ingredients, I can cultivate my talents and my plentiful shower of gifts, knowing that even my deliberate decision to accept and foster them is an act of thanksgiving.