Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Giving Thanks Teaches Us to Be Humble

Tomorrow, families gather to give thanks. They may remember the myth taught to them as elementary school-age children. They may now know, as adults, that the Pilgrims were much less kind to and far from grateful for the Native Americans.

Those at the table may simply be grateful for the bountiful feasts and for family members having gathered together once more. Or they may treat the day as a sacred one that begins and ends with their faith uppermost in their minds.

A Native American prayer seems fitting for all the reasons people gather and remember to give thanks. It is a Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving prayer, the full text of which can be found at a site titled First People.

The speaker expresses thanks to the People, Earth Mother, Waters, Fish, Plants, Food Plants, Medicine Herbs, Animals, Trees, Birds, Four Winds, Thunderers, Sun, Grandmother Moon, Stars, Enlightened Teachers, and the Creator. In other words, the prayer is comprehensive, universal, and nonsectarian. It teaches its hearers to be humble and grateful, to acknowledge the connections between all elements and people of the earth.

Some might call the prayer pantheistic. Some might try to diminish the prayer's focus upon our earth, its climate, and our role therein. But the truly grateful must grant that the very air we breathe, the water that nourishes us, the foods that strengthen us, and the brotherhood that sustains us are the timeless and borderless elements that unite us.

Let us give thanks for speakers and writers, for earth, wind, fire, and water, for all that was and is and will be.

Reading Challenge:

Read the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Prayer.

Writing Challenge:

Write your own comprehensive and universal prayer of thanksgiving.