Thanksgiving Wonder

I’ve been thinking a lot about wonder. Maybe it’s because it’s drawing near to Thanksgiving–or because the leaves are vibrant colors or because I’m young and healthy and in love (cliché as that sounds). But I’ve found myself being often struck with awe at how wonderful–wonder full–life is. Walking down the sidewalk under a blue sky. Greeting a friend. Snuggling under warm blankets after a productive day. Toasting a wine glass over laughter and good times.

This isn’t to say that I don’t lose sight of these beautiful things sometimes. But I always find myself, in the season of Thanksgiving, thinking more about thankfulness.

And about God, and God’s role in all this.

I’ve been twisting my Claddagh ring around my finger, running my fingertips over the Trinity knots on both sides.

I’ve explained before how I conceive of the Trinity–as a symbolic representation of the presence of God: in the universe, in our fellow beings, and inside ourselves.

So, when I’m standing on the T or sitting in class, I trace the design of those trinity knots and think about the beautiful and beloved souls of strangers surrounding me, each carrying a divine spark within them. When I stare into the eyes of a person I’m having a conversation with–be it a professor or one of the homeless men I volunteer with–I recognize that piece of God within them.

Joseph Campbell, one of my favorite scholars of religion, once wrote about the gesture that Indians do when they say “Namaste”: the hands pressed together in front, like a prayer, and the slight bow. He said, “In India there is a beautiful greeting in which the palms are placed together, and you bow to the other person. That is a greeting which says that the god that is in you recognizes the god that is in the other.”

I am not saying we should all start saying “Namaste” and bowing, but I think it would be beautiful if we marked each encounter with another being with an acknowledgement of their inherent worth, dignity, and divinity. When we see these things in another person, the world becomes a more loving place.

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