Thursday, November 15, 2012

SHALL GRATITUDE FAIL?

A still-emerging poem of Thanksgiving


Shall gratitude fail
even as the day that proclaims it
draws near?
An age-old grievance surfaces,
rude and unwelcome.
Petty regrets and jealousies stir
afresh, subtly skewing the
lightening horizon.
Common relational tensions
seem annoyingly magnified
in light of a conscious decision to
accentuate the positive—especially
for this holiday.

Presence or gnawing absence
of estranged or once-endeared loved ones
plays games with a heart intent on
embracing thanksgiving’s spirit.
Unusual or changed circumstances
provide breeding ground for
doubt or guilt or despair—
particularly for souls trained
to calibrate meaning by repetitive, familiar,
nearby things.

Shall gratitude fail
in calculation of debits and credits
of goodness on a balance sheet?
Weighing pleasant occurrences
over against troubles threatens
a tenuous thanksgiving.
Only if gratitude is faux
will it falter in the face of
persistent rationalizations for
justifiable self-pity.

Out of a thousand impressions
and experiences appealing for
complaint or protest, gratitude
emerges—wonder of wonders—as
the response of choice.
Discounting no injustices,
minimizing no contrary feelings,
gratitude simply shines a light
on what is given and good
and declares it so.

Neither a salve for wrongs
nor an obfuscating diversion,
gratitude, instead, invites recognition,
often amid too-obvious wreckage,
of grace and mercy and love—
unearned, undeserved and free.
And in this recognition, this choice,
this declaration, thanksgiving
opens a way to walk toward tomorrow
with confidence, with courage,
with hope.

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