Thanks-Giving Square: an Oasis of Serenity and Gratitude in the Heart of Dallas

I was in a mood. And not a good one.

I had been travelling for three weeks in a row and really needed some “home time”. That’s where I was headed when I found out an important appointment in Dallas had to be rescheduled (I live near Houston) and “could I come this week instead of the originally-planned time?” I reluctantly said “yes”.  So, there I was on the road again when I wanted to be home. I was annoyed at the change of plans, I was mad at myself for agreeing and then, just as I reached Dallas, my tire blew. At that point, I just about had smoke coming out of my ears.

After dealing with the tire, I had some time to kill before my appointment and I was determined to spend it just marinating in self-pity and sulking over my bad luck. I decided to take a walk. Up Pacific Ave., I wandered into a place I’d passed before but never visited: Thanks-giving Square.

chapel and groundsComprised of a park, a chapel and a museum, the square is a three-acre oasis of calm and peace, a place to sit and meditate or stroll and decompress. The site includes a bell tower (bells ring every hour), a giant “Ring of Thanks” covered in 23 carat gold leaf, grassy spaces and relaxing water features. Along the entrance, you pass the Wall of Praise, with quotes and images designed to inspire gratitude. As I read the wall, I pondered the idea of “thanks-giving”: each one of us has many things to be grateful for but the blessings in our lives sometimes get clouded by the challenges we encounter.

Next, I stepped into the Thanks-Giving Chapel. It’s an unusually shaped building, diminutive in comparison to the urban structures nearby. I’d seen pictures of the famous stained glass spiral ceiling and yet, I wasn’t prepared for the emotions that washed over me upon viewing it. Stepping into the sanctuary, looking upward toward the pinnacle of the ceiling, a sense of awe and peace settled over me. windowThe negative feelings of the day lifted and floated away. The troubles and inconveniences I experienced were minor. Tomorrow, I would be back home, with my wife and my dog, in my favorite chair. I have an incredible family, a comfy house, an amazing job, a blessed life. I am a lucky guy.

I’d like to wish all my readers a wonderful Thanksgiving, with a challenge to acknowledge and appreciate the blessings in your lives, not only this Thursday but all year long.

Read more about Thanks-Giving Square.

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