Thanksgiving in Canada must come before winter. Thanks is harder when it is -20. So it is in early Autumn when the world is beautiful.
Some thoughts for Thanksgiving:
Cicero has written, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” That is a profound idea. The ancient cardinal virtues from Greece, Prudence, Justice, Temperance and Courage, require a sense of place. A backdrop. The more recent additions of Faith, Hope and Charity also need a backdrop. Gratitude establishes order.
G.K. Chesterton offers the need to have a basis for belief. “Life is indeed terribly complicated—to a man who has lost his principles.” You cannot value anything except in comparison. Have sound principles and be grateful for the things that approach them.
Chesterton further offered, “Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” Life is complicated even for those with principles. Being grateful simplifies life. Emphasis and focus are good guides.
Henry Van Dyke offers this, “Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.” There are many things in life that are kindness. A dog that curls up with you. A spouse that remembers significant events and relives them with you. A stranger who smiles and says Hello. Customer service that listens. Children and grandchildren. A warm sunny day.
Enjoy your feelings of kindness, and express them. Silent gratitude isn’t very much use to anyone,especially to you. Thankfulness expresses the feeling of received kindness. You won’t enjoy the kindness as much unless you express it.
I suppose by that assertion, expressing gratitude is selfish.
No one ever said life was paradox free.
Don Shaughnessy is a retired partner in an international public accounting firm and is now with The Protectors Group, a large personal insurance, employee benefits and investment agency in Peterborough Ontario.