Heart and Mind - Dr. Lou Yock - November 2018
Heart and Mind - November - Dr. Lou Yock
It is good that we have an annual day of Thanksgiving. Personally, it has always been my favorite holiday. I’ve always appreciated how the customs and traditions are so family centered—the foods, the gatherings, the events of the day. Of course these change with time as families grow and shrink and evolve, but the values stay the same, as does the need to express our gratitude for the blessings we have received.
What gives it a unique place in my mind is its lack of commercialization. Outside of the turkey and some favorite family food items, there is no must-make purchase. And the gifts given, usually food, are shared. Of course, the ever encroaching Black Friday sales pitches buzz all around, but my choice is to simply ignore all that.
Instead, I try to extend the holiday by making sure I take an extra long hike, or at least some extra time outdoors, on the day after Thanksgiving. I have the luxury to do this primarily because there is nothing I need; I have plenty, and I certainly need no more “stuff.” Chances are, I’ll even have some leftovers from Thanksgiving which require little preparation time or effort, but yet are still a feast.
Perhaps the happy irony of Thanksgiving is that, in giving thanks for all that I have, I am given even more in that I find my soul is filled to overflowing. In recognizing my gratitude for my friends, for my comforts, for the beautiful nature that surrounds me, I am given even more.
This year, being unique for me, I appreciate the many invitations and kind offers to join with others in my ever expanding group of family and friends. But for this time around, I intend to help out with the community Thanksgiving, and then spend some quiet time, appreciating all that I had, and all that I have.
May your Thanksgiving, too, be filled with the precious reminders, and deep appreciation, of the bounty we find in life and living. To this end, I share a poem of Walt Whitman.
Walt Whitman, “Thanks in Old Age”
Thanks in old age - thanks ere I go,
For health, the midday sun, the impalpable air - for life, mere life,
For precious ever-lingering memories, (of you my mother dear - you,
father - you, brothers, sisters, friends,)
For all my days - not those of peace alone - the days of war the same,
For gentle words, caresses, gifts from foreign lands,
For shelter, wine and meat - for sweet appreciation,
(You distant, dim unknown - or young or old - countless, unspecified,
We never met, and neer shall meet - and yet our souls embrace, long,
close and long;)
For beings, groups, love, deeds, words, books - for colors, forms,
For all the brave strong men - devoted, hardy men - who've forward
sprung in freedom's help, all years, all lands
For braver, stronger, more devoted men - (a special laurel ere I go,
to life's war's chosen ones,
The cannoneers of song and thought-the great artillerists - the
foremost leaders, captains of the soul:)
As soldier from an ended war return'd - As traveler out of myriads,
to the long procession retrospective,
Thanks - joyful thanks! - a soldier's, traveler's thanks.