Elizabeth Gaynes: A Thanksgiving Prayer

Thanksgiving in any other year would bring its share of blessings and challenges. This year, thoughts such as what to prepare, who to spend time with, how to make this Thanksgiving meaningful, high and low feelings, missing loved ones, and just plain getting through the week are even bigger, somehow compounded, and can be overwhelming.

Whatever you are feeling, and wherever you find yourself, know that you are not alone. This week, I remind you to be especially kind to yourself. For some of us, that means just taking an intentional full belly breath. And then another.

If you are in the enviable position of feeling ok, take this opportunity to reach out to someone who might not be feeling ok this week. A phone call, email, hand-written note, delivery of food, flowers, or even just a smile, can and will make a difference. If we each reach out to even one person, collectively our small gesture will touch more than a thousand others.

For everyone, I share a Thanksgiving prayer that touched me deeply. I am so very grateful for my family, for this strong and vibrant community, and for each and every one of you. Wishing you a Thanksgiving of peace, good health and happiness.

A Thanksgiving Prayer

Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, from All Breathing Life

Thank You, God of Eternity,
for the great wonder of Your creation,
for the earth, the stars, the sun and the moon,
and the beauty of Your universe,
with which in Your great kindness You have blessed me.
Thank You for granting me life, in all its richness,
for its brilliant moments of joy
which allow me to soar as the birds,
and even for its anguish and pain,
which somehow seem to precipitate inner growth and change.
For all these things, God, I am grateful.
But thank You, especially, God, in Your abundant love,
for having chosen to make me a human being,
blessed, among all the fruits of Your creation,
with a mind to reason and seek truth and justice;
with a soul which can feel pain, ecstasy, and compassion,
and has the freedom to choose life and goodness
over cruelty and destruction;
and with a heart which can love and care,
and reach out to touch the hearts of my brothers and sisters,
as together we walk through the years of our lives. 

Elizabeth Gaynes is the Executive Director of Congregation B’nai B’rith.