Thanking and Thinking

Teodros Kiros

Spot Pond and its stirring beauty massage my soul. I see straight through the luster of the transparent blue water. I turn my steely eyes to the left, and there I see two white ducklings looking up, perfectly poised, and focused on the blue morning sky. I restlessly turn my tired neck to the left, and long lines of birds swimming away in perfect movement greet me. I said to myself this is for the eyes, the windows of the soul.

I closed my eyes, looked up to the firmament, and thanked the creator of this universe, which is always there, there firmly anchored on the foundations laid forever, by the creator, who does not have to account itself for the creation of the air, the water, the fire, and all these beings, of which the unthankful human is only one of a kind.
I looked up again, and prayed to be put in a prayerful attitude, in the month of thanksgiving. As nearly as I can remember, I have yearned to get nearer to the voice of the transcendent, the voice of the generous lawgiver, waiting to be summoned to an environing by the prayerful and thankful attitude. I have known for years that to think is to thank, to pray is to think, to give is to think, and to receive is to thank. Only now, in my years of maturity am I slowly learning how to think by thanking and how to thank by thinking.

In vain did I pray to get near the transcendent so as to really learn how to think- so difficult is learning how to think. Only when I genuinely thank do I sometimes experience the joy and pain of thinking. Then I feel fulfilled.

To thank is to think, and to think is to thank. These simple and enigmatic words prominently trap me during the month of thanksgiving. How horrible I feel, when I cannot give anything, because I have nothing to give by way of material things, particularly money. But then that is not the only thing that I can give. There other non things that I can give to a needy world, once I release myself from the hold of money, that dirty commodity, that turns the world aflame.
Releasement from commodities is what I pray for, so that I can open myself to other possibilities, to different tasks. Generously giving money to my fellow sisters and brothers drenched in drinks, sorrow and hopelessness, propelled by the thanking attitude gives immense pleasure, particularly when I do it with the correct moral attitude, which is the language of thanking by thinking, giving because I must, receiving because I am lucky.

It is exceedingly difficult to release myself from excessive self love and love of family. The world is also my home, towards which I must be released. Surely love must begin with oneself, followed by the family, and ending with the world, but not necessarily in that order. The order ought to be open. I know that does not come easily to anybody, least of all me, the one who is pontificating now. When we are environed by the thankful attitude, we need not strictly follow the customary order of self, family and the world. We can begin with that task that is the most imperative, the one that haunts our conscience, and commands our immediate moral attention. What matters is not where we begin but where we land, where we feel at home, when when we think through thanking.

I must learn how to perform my moral tasks joyfully and naturally in this thanksgiving month. Suffused by thankfulness I delve deeply into the caves of my soul and think about what I must do for the world. The concrete world is a world of pain, of sorrow, of hopelessness, of disease and poverty. Each of these facets of our marked days on this planet is gaping for my commitment. A child somewhere in the world had just died from AIDS; his mother had just killed herself upon the discovery of the brutal fact; wealth is being lavished on worthless things in the rich capitals of the world. A thankful disposition does not overlook these paradoxes. Their imposing presence on our conscience and consciousness creates sites of responsibility.

We cannot throw our hands and say too bad. The thankful horizon will refuse to release us from refusing to act toward wanting to transform the world through a moral action.

Thanksgiving is the paradigmatic time to think by thanking and to thanking by thinking. Now is the time to act. Now is the time to give. Now is the time to share. Now is the ultimate time to be human in a profound way. Take this valuable time to give, to share and to receive.
Release yourself from self and your duties will be disclosed to you through the invisible presence of the transcendent, the one who created you to use your moral intelligence and do things for the world.
Do not despair, thinking that your isolated moral action will not change the world. That is not the way of thinking by thanking. That is the way of not thinking because you are not thanking, but despairing. Despair, you must know, kills thinking.

[Originally published In Ethiomedia.com]

Featured Artwork:
By Bandan (Own work). “Spot Pond.” [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons