Take it from a three-legged dog: It can be hard to be thankful sometimes. Plus, figuring out “how” to be thankful can be as challenging as figuring out “what” to be thankful about. I’ve been thinking about Thanksgiving all week, this here’s what I’ve come up with so far…
“To thank” is one of those verbs that requires other words to go along with it in order to make sense. That’s why humans say, “Thank you” and why “Thanks” by itself is only used when you’re addressing someone directly.
“But Ada, Who cares?” you ask.
The reason this is important is because it points out an often-overlooked concept about Thanksgiving: Thanks is given to someone or something for something or someone. Thinking about the fullness of the word will help you be thankful.
When things are going bad for you, but some other human feels great, you might hear, “Oh, there is always something to be thankful for!” At that point–and this is just a dog’s opinion–I see no problem with asking for an explanation. Here’s mine:
At all points in time throughout history and in the future, there will always be at least one thing for which to be grateful: the fact that life is unfinished. If you, like most others, believe the sun will rise tomorrow– then that is something to be thankful for. Why? Because it solidifies the fact that something new will happen tomorrow. The unfinishedness of life means that there is hope of something new, of a future, of opportunities you know nothing about… yet.
3. Radical gratitude is open-minded.
So, the sun comes out tomorrow… if that’s what everyone can be thankful for, then to whom can they be thankful? This is where we come to the concept of giving credit where credit is due. The whole point is that you actively search out objects of gratitude. Thanking is an action… and in some cases, like a scavenger hunt.
Whomever receives your gratitude, let it be radical. What do I mean by that? Let it be future-oriented. Radical gratitude is open-minded gratitude.
Radical gratitude says, especially when life is full of failure, “I look around me, and life sometimes feels like it’s ending.” Then, after that recognition, it says, “There are things that need to be changed, and because life is unfinished, change is still possible. I can change. Others can change.”
And that’s something to thank each other for during this Thanksgiving season!