Exercise: Thanksgiving from the Ground Up

With Thanksgiving we recognize that we live within an economy of gifts.  We did not build this; we create within a whole network of dependencies and within a creation that God made both brilliant and good.  And for all of our fallen efforts to make the world ugly, God keeps making the world beautiful.

Our most basic dependence is upon the soil.  Without its health and life, we would have no health and life.  We are Adam from Adamah, Human from Humus–our life does not make sense without soil.  Yet, how much do we pay attention to the dirt?  How many times around the thanksgiving table do you hear, “I give thanks for the topsoil–without it we wouldn’t be able to eat, much less have a feast”? But that is exactly what I’m saying we should do.  In making our lists of thanksgivings, long before we get to that new car or even the meal, we should give thanks for the soil and work our way up from there.  By starting with the soil our thanksgivings will be rich, full of life, and with all of the potential for flourishing.

So start with the ground, and think through all of the gifts of life.  Spend an hour, and if you’re really thinking that won’t be enough time–thanksgiving could go on forever.

About Ragan Sutterfield

Ragan Sutterfield is a writer and Episcopal seminarian sojourning from his native Arkansas in Alexandria, Virginia. He is the author of Cultivating Reality: How the Soil Might Save Us, Farming as a Spiritual Discipline and a contributor to the book Sacred Acts: How churches are working to protect the Earth’s climate. Ragan’s articles and essays have appeared in a variety of magazines including Triathlete, The Oxford American, and Books & Culture. He works to live the good life with his wife Emily and daughter Lillian.


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