The Power of Giving Thanks
November 25, 2010
(ChattahBox Op/Ed) – I am 49 years old and throughout my personal and professional life I have had a great deal to be thankful for. The list of things that I am grateful for and have been blessed by include my family, friends, and opportunities, too many to list. I have seen so much and yet I have so much left to see. I have learned a great deal and yet have so much more to learn. I have loved so deeply but know that I can love even more. I have shared until it hurt and received until embarrassed. I have laughed, cried and pondered, and as my journey has unfolded before me, I have also experienced profound loss and despair, as we all have.
On this day of thanks, I have often explored the reality of what Thanksgiving is to others. Not everyone has a family like I do. Not everyone has friends as beautiful as I do and not everyone has had rich experiences and amazing memories to look back on in times of needs as I do. I am always mindful that no matter how many gifts life presents to us, not all of us have been so rewarded and that does matter to me in many ways.
I choose to place a picture of the cornucopia on this post because it stands for something that to me is more representative of this holiday than a simply and beautifully prepared turkey. The cornucopia is an image of abundance, the horn of plenty, and as an image of something we should collectively wish for one and all. Abundance is a wonderful concept and the wonder of that word for me is that is can be defined by whomever uses it in the way that best fits them. What is abundant to one person may not be to another, but that’s OK, isn’t it? But abundance can also be troublesome, as we know, and not everyone gets to participate in abundance.
I am a very fortunate person. Throughout my life I have lived in a world where people are at the center of what I do. My three restaurants gave me so many connections to people who are just fine people. No matter what they do, they have found a center and a core belief system that serves them and provides their definition of abundance. My radio career that spanned the better part of 17 years gave me a national audience to grow with, to learn from and to share with. Hundreds of thousands of people passed through my life during that time and even if we were on significantly disparate sides of issues, we still came together daily to debate and pontificate to the benefit of us all. As an author I traveled the country meeting people so filled with hope and desire, filled with determination and direction that they helped me to understand the importance of message and movement. As a media consultant and trainer I have touched the lives of people who dream larger than I ever thought a person could and have shared with me secrets they were barely able to say out loud. During the time I ran a successful weight loss support website too many people to be believable came into my life via e-mail baring their most intimate fears and anxieties, their greatest hopes and desires. And as a father and husband I have found a kind of love and amazement that to put words to it always seemed cheap. To this day, even though my youngest son is now 17, I can’t look at any of my three children while they are sleeping and not get emotional knowing that I continue to love them more and more every day, and I honestly would have never thought that possible, but it is, thank God it is!
My immediate family is a testimonial to what God does create. My three sisters and I have fought through the death of our mother and our older brother together; losing them within nine months of each other. We have grown our love by staying connected and invested in each other. My oldest sister had to endure the torture of losing her young son to cancer a few years back and even through that loss God’s hand made sure we circled each other and protected the love we had to provide support and strength when we thought nothing could be worse, but we endured and tomorrow when we gather to enjoy the abundance we will share, it will be a loving and laugh filled day and one that we will not want to end even after all these years.
I have been blessed with friends that have been perfectly placed in my life; people who define selflessness and who helped me while I won and lost, succeeded and failed. Some of them are still a part of my life and some who have moved on a long time ago, but none less important to me today.
I will pray tonight, as I do most nights, that for those we are suffering or without hope that their pain be taken away. I will pray for a peace that only one can know when it presents itself. I will pray that those who can do more find a way to do just that and those who can’t do more find peace in what they have done. And above all, I will pray that suffering and pain passes quickly and that when it does what replaces it is wisdom and opportunity and the knowledge to know how to recognize it and use it for good, not only for yourself but for others.
I realize these are idealistic prayers and that’s OK because they are my prayers and I can do with them as I please. I also realize that sometimes the answer to the prayer is “not now”, but never “not ever”.
I am mindful there are people that need help now more than ever, and I’m not just speaking about people who have been devastated by the economy or job loss, for they surely are suffering, and I am not just talking about people who have recently lost a loved one or have experienced divorce and family issues, for they are suffering as well, but for the people who are also quietly suffering because the life they dreamed of seems to have alluded them, or that their personal world that from the outside looks perfect is for whatever reason a slow burning hell and their feelings of being trapped and cornered also seem hopeless, even though they are not, because like abundance, suffering also is self defined, is it not?
A kind word, a mention or notice of affection or appreciation can be the difference in ones day. The smallest gesture can have amazing impact on someone who fits into any of the categories I have mentioned. An offer to buy lunch. A simple pat on the back. Saying I love you for no reason. Listening without talking. Talking without judging. Smiling.
And, to me, the greatest of them all are two words that when said sincerely are the two most important words in the world. These two words heal, empower, and confirm. These two words provide and propel. So on this day of Thanks I will leave you with these two words with sincerity and genuine intent. For everyone who reads this and supports what I do…
Tony Trupiano is a former national syndicated progressive radio talk show host, author, and a former candidate for Congress. He is also a nationally recognized media trainer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and can read his Blog at www.mediatraining.me.