Sandrine Hahn, a Weston A. Price Foundation chapter leader, created a wonderful Thanksgiving illustration, found here. It contains a beautiful quote from Konrad von Gesner:
Best of all is it to preserve everything in a pure, still heart, and let there be for every pulse a thanksgiving, and for every breath a song.Gesner was a sixteenth century Swedish naturalist with many professional pursuits and interests including botany, medicine, mountains, and theology.
Gesner's quote is particularly beautiful because it urges us to be thankful for everything. That we be thankful every time our heart beats, not simply for our heartbeat, but for whatever we have been given at the very moment our heart beats.
Another quote I very much enjoy is from Alexander Schmemman:
Everyone capable of thanksgiving is capable of salvation and eternal joy.Schmemman (1921-1983) was an influential Orthodox Christian priest living, teaching, and writing in the United States.
One need not share Gesner's faith or Schmemman's faith to appreciate the liberating and saving power of gratitude. In a recent conversation with some friends, we ennumerated the many things we were thankful for, but also concluded that we should be thankful for everything, including the things that seem to have caused us harm or seem to have made us suffer, because there are lessons for us hidden deep within each of these things. This attitude is truly liberating and truly saving, because it frees us from anxiety, greed, anger, and fear.
If we are thankful for everything, we need not worry about what will happen next. If we are thankful for what we already have, we need not live our lives for the sake of taking more and more. We will never become angry at what we are thankful for. If we are thankful for everything, there is nothing to fear.
Of course, we should not be thankful that other people suffer. Our thankfulness should turn inward, and our compassion should turn outward. But when we see suffering, we should be thankful for the opportunity to help someone in need.
There are many of you reading this to whom I am very grateful, and I hope to ennumerate all of this as time goes on, and I hope I have appropriately thanked many of you in past posts. Today is an opportunity to remember what we should remember at every moment our heart beats, with every breath, that the world is marvelous, and we are thankful to be here.
Read more about Chris Masterjohn, PhD, here.