© 2009 by Raymond Alexander Kukkee
Reflections on Giving Thanks: White Knights Unwanted ?
"Wrongs should not remain uncorrected, and equally, kindness should never go unacknowledged."" Enter herein, milady! " The chivalrous White Knight opens the heavy door and bows, beckoning a fair maiden to pass through the portal, her person loaded with full baskets, parcels and child unborn. She refuses his offer. " Be off with you, errant knight!" she exclaims haughtily. She waits impatiently until he closes the door again, and attempts to open it herself. Struggling to no avail, she screams angrily and drops her packages. A crowd begins to gather. " Slog! Assist yon fair maiden! Art thou unworthy of our King's banner?" an old woman cackles angrily at the knight. The White Knight valiantly intervenes, gathers scattered goods and assists the highly vexed maiden in spite of her rising protest. The crowd cheers. " Thank you! " She shouts angrily over the din, flinging a turnip at him, and is on her way. Confusion reigns in the minds of all observers. The knight bows to the crowd and holds up the turnip for examination by all. " Forsooth! A fine offering for service rendered ! A fresh turnip! " " Perchance, was yon madwoman your betrothed wife, honourable knight? " a fat and jolly man in the crowd asks loudly, with much mirth. " Hast thou been jousting without benefit of armor?" another asks, with glee, wagging his finger. The crowd erupts with hoots of laughter and shaking of heads. " Doth logic sit on the edge of my blade?" the knight asks in return, smiling and raising his bejeweled, shining sword. " 'Tis only for service to my King! " " Please, brave knight, may I have the turnip?" a waif asks timidly. " Of course you may," the knight answers brightly, "and Godspeed to you! " " Thank you, honorable Sir! " the child answers and runs off happily, forever grateful. This was a simple medieval tale, and the child's thank you for food given was sincere, but how about the response from the highly vexed maiden? Was the angry woman's questionable " Thank you!" an acknowledgment to be appreciated? To some, it may have been offensive. In the foolish realm of mindless extremes, chivalry was struck a mortal blow in that disconcerting, but memorable moment in history. Even today, an offer of help with sincere forethought and kindness is not always appreciated . Although a helpful act is not degradation, implied servitude, gender-stereotyping, or demeaning, it is certainly the practice of kindness and civility. Curiously, the paradoxical icy, equally evil stare of a modern feminist at a man who chooses not to assist in opening an equally stubborn, heavy door for her as she struggles valiantly, furthers societal confusion. "One never knows" might be the most appropriate observation, but strangely, it seems more appealing to deny civility at times rather than be offered an insult or a meaningless thanks wrought of sarcasm and insincerity. As a disclaimer, and to acknowledge the possibility of deist bolts of lighting striking shining armor from an azure, perfect sky, let us first energetically deny any thought of NOT giving thanks to God himself, if only for the immutable fact that everything surrounding us is at God's pleasure and plan. Let us persist in offering thanks to our Lord, for so we should. The fact that we have not yet been hit by lightning is reason enough, is it not? That aside, how about the custom of giving thanks to human beings? It may be suggested that if common courtesy, manners, kindness, and generosity, marks of civility every one, -are easily sloughed away for cause or thoughtless, common habit, the concept of giving thanks may also be deemed meaningless. Would such a deviation suggest that as an entity, humanity is less grateful and a lesser civilization than we imagine it to be? It is within human nature to question reality and existence, and paint for ourselves the most optimistic, appealing, and magnanimous portrait of ourselves possible. Under normal circumstance, exemplary choices are ideally made, choices that makes us feel proud, secure, warm, and fuzzy. Might that illusion of civility be shattered if we instruct the conscience to critically dissect the precious concept of giving thanks? For sake of argument, let us leave no stone unturned.. Upon occasion, thanks is purposely given and vocally expressed, but in reflection and all honesty, have we been truly thankful? Do we ever give, or have we ever given, enough thanks? Were we sincere? Is receiving thanks from someone always appreciated? Can 'giving thanks' even be unwarranted and unnecessary? Let us further examine that question with an eye to discovering untarnished truth at this Thanksgiving, for constructive self-examination is most valuable, more meaningful, and most essential in times of plenty . The giving of thanks offered sarcastically and insincerely for less than perfect service, lies, thoughtless, meaningless compliments and platitudes should be placed under the microscope where it correctly belongs. There are aspects of life where giving thanks is questionable. Can the importance of giving thanks also be over-rated? Should one merely continue to offer trite, artificial thanks as is so commonly done? Let the reader decide . Just as we work to choose the most lucrative and comfortable physical existence possible for ourselves, the voice within must answer the nagging call for a soothed social conscience which includes the well-being of others. The only alternative is to remain silent and pretend there is no validity in considering the fortune of others. The subconscious must speak, starting at home, where the heart resides. Thanksgiving. Food, holiday spirit, gatherings. Good times. The peculiar celebration of "Giving thanks" is over and done with for yet another year, and hopefully, sincere thanks will spill from the hearts of all North Americans. Let us magically flip the pages of the calendar past Thanksgiving, ignore the greed and commercial profit-taking of Black Friday and Christmas, and examine the post-holiday, icy and foreboding weeks of late February. Are we still thankful for harvest blessings? Are blessings remembered and cherished? Thanksgiving placed even further aside, how about the rest of the obligatory thanks we mutter at one another sporadically throughout the year, and most commonly without thought or plausible sincerity? Is saying " thank you" really giving thanks, or just a meaningless habit driven into the correctly raised minds of children? Should we be thankful for being nurtured, raised, and force-fed sufficient idealism to guide us into a politically-correct adulthood? Will your next offering of thanks be meaningless? Does that question forecast a shadow of something deeper that should be quelled to be polite, or sincerely questioned as being less than dishonest? Practice makes perfect. Does giving meaningful thanks just take practice? The custom of offering thanks is, superficially, a habitual aspect of civility . Should one thank someone for doing an inferior job they were paid to do properly? Should one offer thanks for lackluster performance and products with built-in obsolescence? The unsettled question can turn far darker in analysis. What about giving thanks for social inequality, the blatant lack of humanity and inherent hypocrisy that lives daily, encroaching, surrounding and suffocating? Should one be dishonest, less than true to one's self, less than critical, and remain ever thankful for the misdirection of society? Should one bless and thank deformed social mores and a disturbed, manipulated economy, where single mothers must make a choice between feeding hungry infant children shivering in the dark, or paying rent? Where senior citizens, the wearied constructors of society, freeze to death each winter because their electricity is shut off while major corporations receive taxpayer dollars never to be returned? Where millions upon millions of hard working people have no access to health care, or lose their homes and lifetime savings if they become ill, yet billionaires continue to amass wealth as they willfully and knowingly destroy and poison the environment? Shall we be eternally thankful that no concern for future generations is included in the blueprint for today? Does it remain humanly possible to remain both thankful and honest simultaneously while the helpless are left to exist without hope? Shall the working poor continue to naively and silently give thanks while obscene profit and life itself is siphoned from the economy of North America with the blessings of questionable social policy and stiff-necked, unreasonable politicians practicing flawed, blighted social ideology? The list is endless. Shall we be forever obligated to give thanks where it is clearly unwarranted? Is refusing to offer thanks to the evil and greedy a denial of civility? We think not. Wrongs should not remain uncorrected, and equally, kindness should never go unacknowledged. One last, simple question remains. Should one give thanks to those individuals who see fit to offer correction of our errant ways, and are brave enough to tell us when we are wrong? In addition to thanking God himself, that may be one unique situation where sincerely giving thanks is truly warranted . Social injustice may remain forever unanswered, and social manipulation may be eternally achieved by encouraging the giving of thanks by rote rather than reason. Cynicism and disbelief, understandably, grow rampant. Many questions shall remain unanswered, but the reader is encouraged to draw conclusions with inquisitive mind, kindness of heart, and much reflection. With eternal hope, and in spite of the errors of society , one must try to give thanks where truly needed and well-deserved, for happiness in life only comes to fruition with appreciation. As white knights often discover with skepticism, they are not always wanted, but the world also continues to unfold as it should. Choose to believe this tale , and accept this turnip -with thanks, or not. " Enter herein, milady " ... ## Is that Incoming I hear? Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons Public domain