Give Thanks

A Jamaican boat operator was devastated by the loss of his property in a fire in Harbour View, near Kingston this week.  It was all uninsured, and the loss was no small amount in Jamaican terms – 15 million Jamaican dollars.  It was also his livelihood.

When asked what on earth he would do, the boat owner said philosophically, “The incident has really left me in a state, but I just have to give thanks that I have life, and where there’s life, there’s hope.”

Jamaicans are very good at giving thanks.   It is something that seems to come naturally, and I wish I was better at it myself.  The Rastafarians are particularly fond of the expression.  Whether the news is good or bad, “give thanks” – it could always be worse.  We must simply give thanks for our life, and our health.   We are walking, talking, living, breathing, eating and drinking and generally behaving (well or badly).  We are thankful for that.  Life.

Jamaican sunset
Just a peaceful Jamaican sunset, and thanks for another day.

 

The wonderful Mustard Seed Communities in Jamaica (who deserve all the love, support and thanks that they can get) is a faith-based organization that cares for abandoned children and adolescents with disabilities and children living with HIV/AIDS.  They are selfless in an extraordinary way that the Petchary can only regard with some awe.  She recently volunteered with a group from work, painting buildings at their home called Jerusalem near Spanish Town.  Every week an email arrives from Mustard Seed with the subject line, “Thank You Thursday.”  It gives me something to be thankful for, every week.  Although not in the least “religious” in the “organized religion” sense, it always makes me pause and reflect for a few minutes.

Two young Jamaicans with disabilities
Two Jamaicans cared for by Mustard Seed Communities

Today was no exception.  The Thanksgiving Day email gently pointed out to me that there is a “giving” in Thanksgiving.  Simply put, “The more you give, the more you will find to be thankful for.”  The thanks and the giving go hand in hand, the Mustard Seed people suggest.

As the light dims over Thanksgiving Day (being fortunate to have the day off work, despite not living in the United States) I can think of a thousand things to be thankful for.  Not least is a postcard from our son, which arrived today from a trip to Toulouse, France, where he was visiting a friend.  The Quai de Tounis, lined with rose-colored houses along the river Garonne. It’s something small, but so gratefully received.

Quai de Tounis, Toulouse
Toulouse is called "La Ville Rose" - and this is the reflected, rich glow.

And, as a prelude to the first of a series of blogs about the fascinating country of Brazil… I am thankful for the warm, intimate beauty of Caetano Veloso‘s music, which I have been playing at intervals today.  Please refer to my Vodpod in the sidebar (which I promise to refresh more often) and my next post.

Thank you.


14 thoughts on “Give Thanks

  1. As I reflect on the many thanksgiving celebrations I’ve taken part in during my time with the Embassy family, I humbly give thanks for memories I hold dear. Giving Thanks is something one should do everyday of your life for life itself is a blessing we have to be grateful for. Petchary is a blessing and helps me to relax during challening times. Just want to give thanks for this medium and your passion for the cause. Keep up the good word!! Blessing to you and yours. Hazel.

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    1. Hazelnuts… Thank you for your sweet and heartfelt comment, which I am just reading. I will keep writing and I am so happy and honored that it means something to you. Do take care and I hope you and your family are enjoying the Christmas season… I am retiring very soon (officially on December 31) so I know the memories of the Embassy will stay with me, too. Many, many happy ones. Very best wishes…

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  2. Giving thanks to the Petchary for such a tender, thoughtful, and warm post. It’s so true – ‘giving’ happens when a soul lives in gratitude. We give freely when we view our lives as bountiful. There is indeed always a light side and it is always within our power to look to that, rather than to perceive our lives as lacking in something or the other. From one spiritual ‘non-affiliated’ being to another: Bless Up and Give Tonks EVERYtime, zeen.

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    1. Zeen!! Thank you for your deep thoughts and I agree – if our lives are lacking something, we can often find it – in ourselves, and in others. Yes, I like being “non-affiliated” – it helps me to see more clearly. Warm love to the Big Apple and warmest to you!

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  3. It gladdens my heart to hear of people who try to keep a positive outlook despite adversity and those who give so freely and without question. People can be vengeful, selfish and arrogant but people can also be kind, generous and forgiving. I guess it make us what we are and kind of reminds me of the difference between the Old and New Testaments!

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    1. I know, Jack. Jamaica is a place of such startling contradictions. In the midst of deprivation and often sheer cruelty and callousness (this is the “Third World” after all, though I don’t care for that term), there are these wonderful people who seem to make all the difference. Yes, there’s a huge difference between the Old and the New, isn’t there! Wish there was more of the New around here!

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    1. Thanks, and I know it’s so far away from you and your tradition, but I appreciate your support as always. I haven’t been blogging as much as I would like – there’s always so much to write about, but so little time! But stay with me!

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