Gratitude #15: Quiet evening. A cold blustery night in NC…33 degrees already…burrrrr…a little “shit-on-the-shingle” (as dad used to call it) over toasted muffin. Christmas music. A new (old) book of poetry published in 1933. Quiet evenings remind us of to stop and think. Meditate on the things that are important – truth – honesty – justice – purity – loveliness – good reports – virtue – praiseworthy… Quiet evenings remind me to be truly thankful. A special poem from that new (old) book of poetry called Thanksgiving, from the 1800’s:
For the days when nothing happens,
For the cares that leave no trace,
For the love of little children,
For each sunny dwelling-place,
For the altars of our fathers,
And the closets where we pray,
Take, O gracious God and Father,
Praises this Thanksgiving Day.
For our harvests safe ingathered,
For our golden store of wheat,
For the bowers and the vinelands,
For the flowers up-springing sweet,
For our coasts from want protected,
For each inlet, river, bay,
By the bounty full and flowing,
Take our praise this joyful day.
For the hours when Heaven is nearest
And the earth-mood does not cling,
For the very gloom oft broken
By our looking for the King,
By our thought that He is coming,
For our courage on the way,
Take, O Friend, unseen eternal,
Praises this Thanksgiving Day.
-Margaret E. Sangster
And when you offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the LORD, offer it of your own free will. -Leviticus 22:29. (Google images)
Gratitude #16: Trees. My meditation time is always when I go outside and sit in the warm bubbling water of our Elemental spa tub. I try to quiet my mind – not an easy task in to say the least – and just focus on prayer and listening. I’m getting better at both – I think…but tonight, I kept getting sidetracked by the falling leaves and puppies running through them. The cold weather has turned our grassy backyard into a crunchy field of browns and golds. While most of the hardwood trees have lost their leaves, the oak holds on to her russet leaves longer. and I watched them dance in early evening breeze a little longer. While I love watching the season bring a visual change in our small forest, I’m thankful for the pine trees and holly bushes that continue to guard my backyard from the neighbors’ vistas and create a private prayer garden even during the deep of mid-winter hibernation. As I came in the kitchen door, I glanced up to see the white ceramic tree that my aunt made for mom and dad so long ago. Mom always kept it out, so I do, too. It’s lights reflect onto the ceiling of the great room in snowlike patters that constantly reminds me of all my family that has gone before me. For me, this is a season of the trees. They know when to be quiet, to sleep, to praise, to grow, to blossom, to rest. I think they listen to Our Father much better than I do, and I’m thankful for their example as I try to learn from them. No wonder the Christmas Tree is such an elemental part of our Savior’s birth celebration. (Google images)
Gratitude #17: Promises. Since I almost fell asleep just a second ago, I figured I better write this quickly. Fatigue is writing a lot of “Zzzzzzz’s” across the front of my brain right now, and I’m sure the antibiotics aren’t helping. I keep thinking of Mark 9 and the father who had watched his son suffer (whether you believe it was sickness or demons) for years. The disciples couldn’t cure him, so he brought him to Rabbi Yeshua to be healed. The first time the father asked the rabbi he said, “But IF YOU CAN DO ANTHING, take pity on us and help us.” (Google images)
I like the NIV version because Rabbi Yeshua replies, ““ ‘IF you can’?” I can almost hear the rabbi’s incredulous voice repeating these words back to the father. It is the only version that translates it this way, and it made me smile. I often think that Rabbi Yeshua to wanted to bang his head against the wall when He dealt with us…hmmmmmm…He probably still does.
But what I love is how he finishes this verse. I can just see Him smiling and shaking His head, love wrapping itself around each word, ““Everything is possible for one who believes.” Smart dad – humbled and broken – rephrased his approach,“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
By that time, I can see Rabbi Yeshua listening but purely focused on the son He was to save. It is those two verses verses – Mk 9:23-24, encircled by all my prayer warriors – both here and in heaven – upon which I’m standing on tonight. “EVERYTHING is possible for one who believes.” “HELP my unbelief.” Even though our faith be small as a mustard seed, His enduring love carries His promise through the years to all of us today. I am thankful for His promises that never fail when we are humble and believe His WORD. (photo by Roma Downey)
Gratitude #18: Roots. I have always been fascinated with trees. There is something about their heighth, breadth and longevity takes my breath away. When I was little, I would dream under their leaves during the summer heat, twist my rope swing into dizzy,erratic rides, and cradle myself in the seat of their roots when reading my favorite book or writing my latest poem or crying over my latest drama. But…it is the roots that hold the tree to the ground. The roots that carries sustanence. The roots are the strength of the tree. No wonder the tree plays a privotal role in the Bible from Genesis to Revelations. If we become rooted to His WORD and rooted to our FAITH, nothing is impossible. Our Father has promised, and I am thankful my roots have grown stronger seeking Him, deeper through the GRACE of His Son and sustained by the soft voice of the SPIRIT.
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit” Jer 17:7–8. (Google images)
Gratitude #19: Family. Long ago when I was sick, my mom would tuck me into her big bed, bring me my favorite comic books or library books, and make me potatoe soup with lots of butter floating on the top. Saltine crackers and ginger ale would accompany this meal, but to this day, I can’t look at a bowl of potatoe soup and be excited about it. Sometimes, a chocolate malt from Zimm’s appeared as a special treat. If I wasn’t too sick, I got to ride in the back of the dry cleaning truck on a bed of blankets while Mom made deliveries around town. That was the best since I usually got a Zimmburger and malt on the way home “for being such a trooper”. Not to be out done, I could always count on Dad for a back rub, a guitar song or a bedtime story. Best of all, my big brother had to be nice to me.
These days when I am sick, my husband cooks food when nothing sounds good…and makes me eat healthy when I probably would eat junk. My kids call to check on me. Best of all, my brother is still nice to me, but this time no one makes him, and I love it. God created families. A safety net that He designed just for us, but more than that, a model that draws us closer to Him. Jesus refers to Him as the Father. He refers to Jesus as His son. Somehow, I think there is a Mother in there as well…we just don’t see it yet. I’m thankful for families when we’re sick, when we’re healthy, when things are crazy. It is a little piece of Heaven right here on earth.
— feeling blessed.
Gratitude #20: My name. I know – strange topic to be thankful for…maybe kind of self-centered. And yet – one that kept re-surfacing all day today. I’ve always loved my name. In the 50’s, no one else had it. I stood alone in a sea of other baby boomers growing up in a post-war world. I even liked it when Coach Donelson mis-pronounced it during the Jr. Hi Honor Society Assembly in front of the whole world (or it seemed – since all the high school kids and parents were there). When I was little, I asked mom more than once about my name. She said she made up the name, but since she was such a reader, that never made much sense. I figured she heard it, read it, and it stuck in the back of her mind.
Prior to the world of computers, I worked as a page at the Loudonville Library. I found Bryn Marw College listed in a book and then I found a book with names. I still can see that book on the table (Young Adult section, Mrs. Wright sitting at the check-out desk, downtown location) as I found my name in a book. It was Welsh. It meant “hill”. Usually a man’s name. If it had two “n’s”, it was feminine. The sentence they used to clarify the definition was a Biblical one refering to Calgary. Felt like me through and through, so I’ve carried that memory with me ever since.
Jewish tradition says the naming of things is one of the most holy things a parent does. It is one of the first things that God told “man and woman” to do together – name the creatures of the earth. (Gen 2:19) They would then “know” the names of all the other inhabitants of the world. Even from the very beginning, God was modeling exactly what he was doing in Heaven. He told Isaiah: “Behold, I have engraved you upon the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.” (Is 49:16 KJV) I like this translation the best. In other translations, it says “your name”, but I like thinking my whole self is in Our Father’s palm – in Jesus’s scars…then again – prehaps that is why “naming” is so important. Our name reflects the person we are. However, it is…I am thankful. Thankful He knows my name – thankful to be Brynie -Bryn Colette – Ferris Wheel (thanks – Loudonville Class of ’69)- Faerie dust/Ferret (college chums) – Nyrb – MIss Ferris – Mrs. K. – Mrs. Grammie – Mom – Grandma …
Gratitude #21: Magic. This week,Granddaughter asked her mama if magic was real. Brilliant doctoral student mama, stalled. I remember that feeling. How do you answer such a question? Santa? Tooth Fairy? Batman? Elves? Like normal, something like this intriques me, and sends my mind whirling off onto various tangents of thoughts that leads to other thoughts and others… sigh.
Logic tells us that magicdoesn’t really exist. That the only “real” things are what we percieve with our corporeal eyes. It must be written somewhere that “magic” is just a famciful escape from a fatiguing reality. Then we look at our child’s face, and we remember what it felt like to be a child. The “magic” world we saw in our mind was just as real as the world we lived in with adults. Horses could turn into magical people. Fairaes lived in the dark holes at the base of a playground tree. Santa came through non-existent chimneys while his reindeer waited and pawed on the roof. I often think children are smarter than adults are. They see beyond the world that is and into the world that could be —- if they just dreamed and looked for it hard enough. Children – for awhile at least – retain something that adults lose all too quickly. I tend to refer to it in my head as “heavenly magic”. .
Jesus had that heavenly magic even as an adult.. He retained the ability to look beyond this world and into all the worlds that His Father had created. After all, is it so hard to believe that a Creator who coneived of all the wonders that this world holds would not also conceive of worlds upon worlds when reindeer fly – elves make toys – right always wins – and a Son lays down His life for His friend?
Magic is a term we tend to funnel into one narrow tunnel. Maybe – my granddaughter, a budding philosopher, has the answer. As her mama fumbled to form some words into a reply, her daughter answered her own question. “… since God made the trees He must be magic, so magic must be real.” Our world is magical…from towering trees to universes too tiny to be seen with our mortal eyes – and everything in-between. Jesus said: “…Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Matt 18:3 (KIV) I am so thankful that I can still perceive some “magic” in my life everyday. (Artwork by Arkiane)