Note: The Three Deceivers is now a new book, available from Meridian.  Click here for more information.

During the time that I was writing the “Three Deceivers” column here on Meridian (click here to go to the Deceivers archive) I often suggested that whenever we can shift our minds into a more spiritual paradigm we discover that Control, Ownership, and Independence are not the goals of life, indeed that they are not even realities in the spiritual context.

I also tried to indicate that when we turn our hearts to thanksgiving, particularly in our prayers, we realize that the things we are truly thankful for are not the things we control, or own, or the areas wherein we are independent–rather, we are thankful for the things God owns and has allowed us to use and enjoy here in this mortal existence.  We are thankful for the things God controls, and for our dependence on Him.

For many years, our family has sent out Thanksgiving Cards rather than Christmas cards each holiday season.  I feel that I now have so many friends among Meridian readers, and that it would therefore be appropriate to share this year’s Thanksgiving card with all of you.  Please enjoy the verses below, which I hope will add to your Thanksgiving joy even in these difficult times we live in.

Let me say, in preface, that every fall, our family searched for a fresh take on our favorite holiday. “Thanksgiving” can be explored as a verb, as a noun, or as an adjective.  We have tried, in years past, to write poems about where it comes from, why it is important, who it is for, when it can be felt, and how it can be increased.  This autumn, as Linda and I traveled around Asia on a speaking tour, we were thinking about Thanksgiving and began to try to focus is on what it is, and it was interesting because our seeking was emanating from some eclectic locations.  Some new perspectives protruded from Vietnam , a place where I almost made a mandatory visit 40 years ago.  In Jakarta we began to write and in Bali came a spirit steeped in offerings and peace. Secular Singapore and boisterous Bangkok gave us contrasts, and here in a rainforest retreat above Kuala Lumpur the what-thoughts germinated and the verse finally fell on the page.


The first thing to do when you wake,

The last thing to do before sleep,

The beginning of every prayer,

The end of every blessing,

The magnet of spirit,

The entry to solace,

The portal to peace,


The prerequisite of perspective,

The acquisition of awareness,

The residue of responsibility,

The essence of experience,

The wonder of all our wonderings,

The fondness of friends,

The foundation of family.


The deepest of holidays,

The purest of motives,

The sweetest of desires,

The surest of faiths,

The presence of God,

The core part of love,

The summum bonum of life.