“Sufficiency” is not a word that surfaces much in the shopping-mall culture we live in – the driving culture of unquenchable desire. “More, more, more!” is what we crave. Especially at this time of year, when an avalanche of catalogs pours through the mail slot daily, we proliferate so many “needs” (many of them only wants disguised as needs), it is positively dizzying: a vertiginous precipice of needs.
“The Buddhists call [the driving force of all this dissatisfaction] tanha – literally, thirsting, craving, longing. Tanha includes not only desire for, and attachment to, material wealth and power, but also desire for, and attachment to people, experiences, ideas, opinions, even spiritual accomplishments,” objectifying and commodifying even these good things. “According to the Buddha, all the trouble and strife in the world – from individual sorrows and petty personal quarrels to great wars between nations and countries – arise out of this thirst.”
‘The world,’ says the Buddha, ‘is enslaved to thirst.’
“Tibetan Buddhists personify this endless craving as a character they call ‘the hungry ghost.’ The hungry ghost has an enormous belly but a very small throat. It can never consume enough to satisfy its appetite; it is always hungry, always suffering ,,”
“…The [ubiquitous] marketplace [which pursues us everywhere, even into our homes and schools] presents us with an awesome array of choices, all designed to satisfy our hunger, choices that grow exponentially and yet never fast enough – products, services, entertainment, technology, all providing stimulus, diversion, and information… While the marketplace insists that happiness will come when all our desires are finally satisfied, we have, in fact, built a ‘hungry ghost’ economy.”  We trade contentment for desire.
A black hole of yearning cannot yield up thanksgiving. “…When we are trapped in seeking, nothing is enough. Everything we have mocks us; we see only what is missing, and all that is already here seems pale and unsatisfying” 
All this drives what Jewish mystic Joshua Abraham Heschel called “the nervousness and fury of acquisitiveness”  that will not let us cry, “Enough! We have enough!”
Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” Jesus asks the crowds in Matthew’s Gospel. And then he gives them his indelible image, “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.”
This feast of Thanksgiving – so different from the secular holiday of Christmas with its endless shopping lists – is a chance to “focus our hearts not on what we need [or think we need] but rather on what we have”  the sufficiency of what we have. It is the time to focus not on the perfect family, but on sufficient family – or friendly – love. Not the perfect Thanksgiving meal, but a sufficiently good one! Not the perfectly accoutered life, but one sufficiently well-equipped, sufficiently graced with beauty and comfort, sufficiently safe.
“I make myself rich,” wrote Henry David Thoreau, “by making my wants few.” 
Spiritual director and writer Wayne Muller tells the story of a woman at a retreat he led who shared how she had devoted her whole life to spiritual seeking. She had traveled to sacred sites, attended countless retreats and workshops, sought teachers and guides. It had, she confessed, been a time of much striving; it had been fruitful in some ways, yet she felt tired, weary. She was getting older. She wondered how much stamina she had left to continue her search. “You have been a seeker for so long,” Muller told her, and then he asked, ‘Why not become a finder?’”
This Thanksgiving, let us become finders. Like the Psalmist who exclaims over the softening rain, the hills “clothed with joy,” and the meadows and valleys that “shout and sing,” let us “bless what there is for being.”  Today, let our only prayer be simply, “Thank you!” Let us allow every face turned toward us, every mouthful of pie, every crepe myrtle tree still dressed in its fall finery, the very earth, our life itself be to us today a gift, utterly gratuitous…sufficient.
This Thanksgiving sermon was preached by HOLLY LYMAN ANTOLINI, Associate Rector, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Richmond, Va. on Thursday, November 25, 2004.
 Muller, Wayne, Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives, Bantam Books, New York, 1999.
 Ibid, p. 126.
Ibid, p. 202
Ibid, p. 126
 Ibid., p. 202.
 Ibid, p. 200
 Ibid. p. 202
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