A Thanksgiving Blessing

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The Gift of Pain
(Jessica Chilton)

This year when gathered round the table
Exalt gratitude like tradition evokes.
Be thankful for all that you have, give, love, and know.
Bless the food, the chefs, the earth.
Relish in the togetherness —–
No matter how it looks, feels, or sounds.
And then take time to acknowledge the Pain.

Each person present experiences Pain in some form —
Ailing body, anxious mind, depressed mood, heartbreak,
Bullying, addiction, loneliness, not enoughness, Burnout, nightmares, grief, and stress.
We’re living in a world that churns up Pain —
Natural disasters, systemic oppression, drug epidemics,
Divisive polarities, climate change, homelessness,
Endangered species, human trafficking.
And we’re celebrating a day rooted in Pain—
The lethal conflict between two groups of people, the killing of Native Americans, the stealing of land, the dying of Pilgrims after an epic journey to seek a new life.
Yes, let us acknowledge the Pain.

And when we do acknowledge Pain
At our Thanksgiving table
May we not spin into guilt, shame, and blame.
May we not deflect, numb out, and escape.
May we not fall down the rabbit hole
To all that I, they, you, we did wrong.
Rather, may Pain be a Welcome Guest this Thanksgiving —
A Gifted Messenger
Telling us exactly where to send our love.

When Pain arises within you,
Send love there.
When Pain arises in the person across from you,
Send love there.
When Pain arises in a conflict between two of you,
Send love there.
When Pain arises in a conversation about a global issue,
Send love there.
Yes, Pain is a messenger for where to send our love.

This Thanksgiving, let us not bemoan the presence of Pain.
Let us not gossip about why Pain is there.
Let us not escape Pain’s company.
Let us not cover up Pain’s existence.
Let us not over-analyze what to do about Pain.

This Thanksgiving let us feel the humanity we share
Through the intimacy of Pain.
Let our hearts open wider
When Pain speaks.
Let love lead us into action
When Pain calls out.

This Thanksgiving I am grateful as always
For the Joy in my heart,
The Joy in my life,
The Joy in the world.
And I am newly grateful for Pain
The Messenger that calls out for our love.

Until Next Time – Sylvia

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