Looking Outward – On Being Thankful

by Angela Derrick
November 2010

“I do not think of all the misery, but of the glory that remains. Go outside into the fields, nature and the sun, go out and seek happiness in yourself and in God. Think of the beauty that again and again discharges itself within and without you and be happy.” -Anne Frank

‘If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice. -Meister Eckhart

Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away and it is rather expected that we turn our thoughts toward counting our blessings and helping those less fortunate. Notices of canned food drives have appeared all over the city and soon those cheery, red-hatted, bell-clanging, Salvation Army workers will take up their posts. Times are hard right now – no argument here, but there is still much to be thankful for. In my family, as I suspect in many, we have the Thanksgiving tradition of going around the table and sharing with each other what we are thankful for.

I am thankful for my family, for without my loved ones, really, what is the point? Without loving people close to us, who also love us, we lose our way. I have just finished reading Gregory Boyle’s achingly real biography, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion, in which he recounts tale after tale of young gangbangers that are lost for that very reason.

And I am thankful for books. Reading plays such a big part in my life. It is books that transport me. I only have to pick up Frances Mayes’ Under the Tuscan Sun and suddenly I can feel the warm sun on my skin just as she describes scenery; I can see the lush countryside abloom with wildflowers and the terrace overlooking the olive trees and grape vines. I read it in a book and I am there, too.

I love how books transport and transform me. I am never the same when I get to the end of a book. My absolute favorite place to go is the library. A favorite familiar book is like a beloved old friend. I’ve read Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic so many times that I’ve lost count. Want a great love story? Check out Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God. Books are knowledge and adventure and, well, everything. Where would we be without books? I love books!

So, I am thankful for my family and books and for the opportunity to share my writing. What are you thankful for this season?

 

Editor’s Note: The book, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion, which Angela refers to, is available for purchase through our RED! Breakthrough Bookshop.

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