Give and give thanks

Nov. 19, 2012 @ 07:26 PM

I read a lot. Some of that reading is for information so I can add to what I already know. At other times I read strictly for pleasure. When I read fiction I notice quite a difference in authors’ styles. Sometimes, a book of some 300-400 pages will have very few chapters. In contrast, James Patterson, who is the most prolific fiction writer, currently devotes only 2-3 pages to a chapter. His mysteries can easily have 120 chapters. A number of books, both fiction and nonfiction are also divided into sections. The different sections can even be quite different in their subject matter.
I don’t think it is a stretch to compare our lives to a book. Every year can be the chapters. Every decade would correspond to the sections or parts of a book. Of course, if you have parts and chapters but no content pages, a book/life won’t get a second look. I believe that every day is a page in the book we write with our lives.
Just like a good novel, every day (page) is different in some way. There are some mundane things about them of course. Most people go to work and return home at the same time. Meals or breaks are taken at the same designated times. At the other end are individuals whose lives are not ordinary or mundane. It seems as if something new or exciting is happening every time you see them. Why is there such a difference? Sometimes, it is the person involving themselves. They take the initiative. They are being proactive. No wonder their life (book) has so many interesting and exciting days (pages) and years (chapters).
In two days we celebrate Thanksgiving as a nation and as individuals. You may have seen the word so many times your eyes just skip over it. Our grandson Ridge, who is in the first grade, has a difficult time pronouncing words like Thanksgiving, because he’s never seen them before. I tell him to see if a long word has two easy words in it. If it does, he can just put them together. It works every time. That is exactly what we need to do as adults with this word.
Since it’s a national holiday, as Americans we are to give thanks. Everyone, regardless of their religion is encouraged to do that. It doesn’t matter if we’re Jewish, Muslim, Christian or other. In our own way we are encouraged to say “Thank you” for all that we have. I’m sure that could include what we don’t have. Specifically, I’m referring to the aftermath and hardship that the northern states are experiencing due to the devastating storm that hit them.
Every year at this time I try to remind us that as gardeners, Union County residents and Americans, we have much to be thankful for. This year the economic climate is much better than in the previous 4 years. More people are back at work and many families don’t find their lives so precarious. No, things aren’t as good as we’d like or as good as they could be. But honestly, will they ever be as good as we would desire? I don’t think so.
Our grandson Ridge would say the last part of the word Thanksgiving is easy; it is giving. Perhaps it’s easier to say than it is to do. It is also the part of Thanksgiving that is easy to overlook. When you see 3-4 times more food than you could possibly ever eat at the Thanksgiving meal, to give thanks for it is not very hard. To give to others so they can also eat something is more difficult. Perhaps, it’s because it is not about us.
No one in our immediate family lost their job in the recession/depression. No one lost their home either. No one went hungry or even missed a single meal. If the truth is known, I doubt if anyone missed a vacation. That can make it more difficult to think about those that are jobless, homeless and/or hungry. Statistics say more Americans are at or below the level of poverty than ever before. The answer to the question “Why” is above my pay grade. Sure, some are just plain lazy. Others have had misfortunes such as accidents or serious diseases. Frankly, I can’t tell who is who. That is not my job. It is my job though, to help those who are hungry. When my life is examined one day, I’d rather be guilty of giving to those who were lazy, than not giving at all.
You may think I’m promoting a personal cause like “The Old Gardener’s Home” and I’m going to ask you for a donation. That’s not the case. I’m promoting an attitude. If you have more than enough that causes you to pause and say “Thank you”, do you have enough to give so others can say the same thing? Between now and December 25th a lot of gifts will be bought and given. The majority will probably be for those who already have a lot. In fact, for many gift buyers the biggest problem is finding something the recipients don’t already have. That’s something for you to ponder.
I’m not asking you to support limiting nuclear weapons, halt greenhouse emissions or help ensure fair and democratic elections in third world countries. I just hope you’ll remember “Thanks” and “giving”.