Divine Goodness

In my Webster’s dictionary, circa the year I graduated from high school: 1997, under the word Thanksgiving it states: 1. The act of giving thanks 2. A prayer expressing gratitude and 3. The fourth Thursday in November observed as a legal holiday for giving thanks for divine goodness. That last one is my favorite. I love that it stipulates how Thanksgiving is a legal holiday for the express purpose to give thanks for divine goodness.

Not only is Thanksgiving my favorite holiday but it’s also the only holiday I choose to celebrate throughout the year. And a big part of that has to do with how Thanksgiving focuses on togetherness and gratitude. There’s of course a feast we share as well, which helps to celebrate the bounty of the seasons but there’s no other consumeristic focus, and I really resonate with that aspect of things.

Last night, I was invited to take part in a Thanksgiving eve interfaith prayer service at First Presbyterian Church here in town, as a faith leader and Buddhist representative, and I was asked to do a reading with Father Rich Perry from St. Francis Xavier Church. In the interest of brevity, I’d like to share the portions that I read:

We give thanks for this world created in beauty even as we remember how fires, floods, earthquakes and hurricanes cause devastation and destruction. We give thanks for those who first respond: medical personnel, fire fighters, volunteers, neighbors and strangers even as we remember the work of rebuilding and restoration continues. Open our eyes to care for this world created in beauty.

We give thanks for strangers who became lifesavers even as we remember all who carry the scars of terror, violence and assault. We give thanks for the all who welcome strangers with gracious hospitality even as we remember the many refugees who are fleeing for their lives. Make a way, where there seems to be no way.

We give thanks for this Thanksgiving Eve where people of faith have gathered to pray and remember those who this day are searching for food, or housing, or friendship, or hope. Spur our grateful hearts to share our resources and hope with others.

 

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Held

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Out in the woods yesterday,
I was reminded, once again,
about how nature remedies the ills
of what it means to be human.

It holds us in its breath,
its stillness, its offering of life,
its ability to let go.


Submerged amid rock formations, waters,
sage fields, trees, and sky,
I knew, without a sliver of doubt,
that the beauty of this world, our land and our people,
far outweighs what needs fixing.

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Mindful Cooking

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Butternut squash, Step 1

In preparation for Thanksgiving tomorrow I took to the kitchen today to do some cooking.  I made the decision to make what I could make today rather than feel rushed tomorrow in putting everything together.  For the past few years I’ve been hosting a community potluck Thanksgiving dinner either at the mindfulness center or at my house and we invite anyone from our meditation groups and beyond to join us.  Oftentimes our community potlucks through the year are vegetarian but on Thanksgiving we have traditional holiday food alongside  vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options.  It is such a gift to be able to come together as friends and enjoy a fresh delicious meal together on Thanksgiving.  This year we’ll have around 14 people for dinner :)

Butternut squash peeling prep - Stage 2

Butternut squash peeling prep, Step 2

For a vegan main dish item I decided to go with one of my favorite autumn/winter soups: butternut squash soup.  Yesterday I went to our local organic food market (The Good Food Store) with a friend of mine and we did our turkey day shopping together.  As I was looking around the large wooden box full of an assortment of beautiful local Montana grown squash I found the largest butternut squash of the bunch and took him home.  As we have a tendency to name inanimate things here in our household my 14-year old son took straight away in giving him a name when he got home from school: Lumpkin :)

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