Thanksgiving that Inspires Action Personal Reflection, Thanksgiving Prayer Service – Nov 20, 2012 Beki San Martin ‘13 I think everyone in this room has something to be thankful for, this Thanksgiving season. I know at this moment, specifically, I am extremely grateful for my sister’s return from college today. But something we all have in common is attending Stone Ridge. Though obviously there are times of strong dislike for school and work, in general, going to this school is something to be immensely grateful for, not only because of the genuinely wonderful community and the valuable education we receive here, but also because of the room and space this school gives its members to firstly, realize and reflect on the blessings in their lives, but then also the time it provides to utilize this gratefulness in taking action. My place of room and space to realize and act on my blessings was at my junior year social action site, Interfaith Clothing Center, a sight which organizes all types of clothes donations for shoppers who cannot afford to buy these necessities. Prianca, Ana, Alexis, Catie, Peggy, Katie and I would pile into the Stone Ridge vans, make our way down to Rockville, and eventually arrive at the ICC. One day in particular I remember this bright, young woman coming to shop with her very energetic toddler. She came up to the front desk to greet everyone, raving about the beautiful day, and asked me how I was doing. Here I was sitting at the front desk, answering calls, feeling sorry that I was bored, and dreading the time when I would have to head to the back to hang clothing. It was at this moment that I remember this sense of genuine thankfulness washing over me. Yet I was not thankful because I was glad that I wasn’t that woman with the child or because I felt pity for her; I was thankful because I saw this woman who had so much more on her plate, going about her day soaking up the little things such as the weather or that her child had found a toy he liked, such a thankful woman in such a more difficult situation than I. And so I took that genuine thankfulness and I vowed to answer the phones with more pizazz, to hang and organize merchandise with no complaint, to help the customers find the items they needed with more readiness, and to ultimately try and spread and penetrate this sense of thankfulness into the days of the customers because having a profound sense of gratitude truly make a difference in the way we perceive and live our lives. In the Gospel today, the nine who were healed were not bad, they got healed and would have better lives. They just took for granted their healing, they moved on. Possibly like most of us do. However, there was one who got healed, a Samaritan, who came back and was full of gratitude – he was saved. He was saved I think in this context not fromt the fires of hell but from a meaningless life, one without recognition and appreciation of the blessings of life. This is much like the woman that I met at Interfaith, a person who does not take things for granted, but instead finds joy, life and meaning in the little blessings. And so I challenge each of us today to make a promise to ourselves, to really really on the daily choose to see and realize the grace and blessings that God has made abundant for us. To be that woman with her child, that inspirational person who spreads their sense of thankfulness to the world. And then, additionally, take that joy and gratefulness into account and let us vow to channel it towards active gratitude, to a loving kindness. To become “cheerful givers” – to our family, our friends, our community. Whether it be through a grand gesture of serving dinner at a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving Day, or through the even the mere simple action of appreciating the family and friends who sit around you at the Thanksgiving table, realize, act, repeat.