"In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy." Brother David Steindl-Rast

Friday, November 28, 2014

What about Black Friday?

Today I am grateful for a nice Thanksgiving, a meal and laughter shared, Skype, and phone calls to connect.

Today is Black Friday. That seems to be an understatement, as we have been inundated with advertising about it for weeks. Many people are out shopping or already were out shopping and are home resting. Some waited in line for hours and others gave up hours of sleep. Was it worth it?

I have never been a big shopper. I have to be in the mood. Good deals and good fits are my goals. The increasing trend of Black Friday mania and madness has concerned and frustrated me in recent years. I get judgmental and worry about the materialism it seems to promote and how it makes some people rude and inconsiderate. All for an item, a thing.

But I tried to broaden my perspective out this year. For some families or groups of friends, this day is about time together, new traditions, laughter, and treats. It isn't about the stuff. It's about the people you are with to get the stuff.

For others, the only way they can afford to get a special gift for a child or other loved one is if they grab up one of these deals. Is that a bad motive? I don't think so.

My husband, son, and I ventured out last evening to a couple places here in town. It's the first time we've done that on Thanksgiving Day. Part of me balked at it, but we did it mainly to get out and move around some after our big meal. The bonus was that we shared several laughs as we made our stops and walked around. Those laughs were well worth it. It wasn't about the stuff. It was about the time together.

That broader perspective helped me judge less and experience more. But I still have plenty of concern about our society and culture and the emphasis on items, on the next best thing. Gratitude practice allows me to appreciate the things I have, but especially the people I have in my life. The next best thing, when I am paying attention, can be our dog's stretch or the morning quiet. It needn't cost a dime.

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