Friday, November 18, 2016
Thanks . . . giving; thanks . . . taking
Next Thursday is "Turkey (or Turducken, or Tofurky) Day". Depending on whether or not you stretch the season to include (or begin with) Halloween, Thanksgiving is the traditional start of "Holiday Season". For many, that season begins with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, a lot of football, and, or course, a LOT of food. On that day, the music on certain radio stations will switch from "Top 40's" to seasonal music . . . for which some people give thanks (and others change the button in their car radios 'til after the first of the year).
Of course, Thanksgiving is that day when we are counseled to take the time to reflect on how much we have been blessed. We recall with gratitude family, friends, successes, and good-fortune. Some of us will attend special services of worship. Others will translate that sense of "blessing" into service for those less fortunate by serving at a soup kitchen or something similar.
Then comes "Black Friday", the beginning of the shopping season. (It has been pointed out that there is a certain irony about spending one day being grateful for how much we have, and then, the next day, heading out to acquire more). Black Friday is followed by "Small Business Saturday", and then (giving Sunday a rest), "Cyber Monday." How quickly "thanksgiving" becomes "stuff-wanting" and "things-buying"! I must say I'm grateful to those companies -- starting with the example of that set by R.E.I. -- who will keep their doors locked on Friday, and encourage their employees to TAKE a break from the freneticism of the "season", spending an additional day with friends and families, and (in the case of R.E.I) being outdoors.
That suggestion, or example, it seems to me, is especially warranted this year. It has been a rough bunch of months in so many ways; to add finals to that seems to pile insult on top of injury. And, while some might subscribe to the notion "When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping," I like to think that taking a break from ALL that is "usual" might be a better response. There is much to be said for the concept of "sabbath" regardless of one's religious tradition.
Above is an image with fifty suggested ways to "Take a Break". For the last several years, I have posted this several places around the DU campus when breaks in the academic calendar occur. I almost always receive a note of appreciation. And so I thought I'd add it this particular newsletter at this particular time, with the hope that some/many of the ideas may resonate and provide some means of respite over the next several weeks. Give thanks . . . and take a break! The world will be waiting for our return. But perhaps, we'll return renewed.