Words are powerful tools. They can encourage and uplift. They can cruelly squeeze out hope. They can destroy marriages. They restore friendships. They can bring healing.
Yet, sometimes in life the non-verbals (meaning without words) are just as powerful as speech, and I dare propose that they are often more powerful than speech.
Art is like that. An artist takes up a brush, dips it in some paint and from some unknown depth brings forth an evocative painting. “Grace” – the painting of the gentle older man bowing his head in prayer – is just such a work of art. It is a beautiful example of non-verbal communication. Head bent, hands clasped, eyes closed, one can almost see the quiet, inner prayer of gratitude most surely taking place.
This can become a good meditation for us at Thanksgiving. All roads lead to home on Thanksgiving Day when families come together to thank God. We all look forward to it, even the hustle and bustle of the many preparations of love that undergird the Thanksgiving meal. Sometimes it has been weeks, months, even years, since the family members have converged like this. Words flow . . . memories abound . . . stories are re-told . . . and the family photo album is found and brought out to the table to show the youngsters.
Grace before meals is prayed. For some, it is the only meal all year that begins with prayer. For others, it is as natural as putting on a comfortable old shoe and wiggling your toes just for the sheer delight of it. That is the sense I get of the man in “Grace”- for him prayer is simple, comfortable and just plain “right.”
This year, at Thanksgiving, imagine your home as if the volume were turned off and all you could do would be to see and touch and smell. Look at faces and body language. Look at children and older folks. Look at the interactions. What would you see?
Let us not be so “well-connected” or “inter-faced” or “networked” that we lose sight of those nearest and dearest to us. Let us show in every way possible our deep gratitude and love for each other. In the end, after all is said and done, that is what matters most, isn’t it.
Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving from our home to yours, a Thanksgiving filled with grace and gratitude.