Today I am grateful to be alive, to feel, see and know the grace and power of something we call Spirit. That alone is joy and gift enough!
To answer today’s question succinctly and at a purely personal level, a release from the chronic back pain I live with would be nice.
The phrase, which is attributed to various sources, “I complained because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet” comes to mind with today’s question. For over four decades I have had the opportunity to work with people who struggled mightily for one reason or another to just to live through another day. On several occasions when I was having a really bad day personally, after my client left, or when I hung up the phone after speaking with a person in crisis, I thought to myself, and I thought I was having a bad day? I have nothing to complain about!
These days, I experience easier stretches of days and some really painful days dealing with my chronic back condition. I recall more than once upon walking into the waiting room of my pain management treatment center, and seeing people there coping with all manner of mobility and physical challenges. Some of these folks, clearly in what looked to be excruciating pain, put me on notice that things for me could be far, far worse. When my appointment ends, I dress myself, put my shoes on and walk out the door.
It was only 4:20 AM when I first read this question. I hope not to receive any services from any stranger at this hour of the day! But I get the question.
I find it exhilarating to meet a new person for the first time whether or not they do something for me. That person becomes an acquaintance and perhaps eventually a friend. If we think about it, that simple human transaction alone becomes a blessing and gift shared between one and the other.
Oh gosh, so many people have touched me with their kindness over time that it’s hard to pick one person. But here are a few of my most favorite quotes regarding kindness:
I expect to pass through life but once. If, therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, as I shall not pass this way again. – William Penn
If someone comes to you asking for help, do not say in refusal, “Trust in God. God will help you.” Rather, act as if there is no God and no one to help except you. – Hasidic teaching
Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. – Mark Twain
Maintaining a sense of gratefulness throughout the day helps to remind me that everything I have, see, feel and consume are actually gifts of life and living that I receive. I do not own them. And knowing this, no matter how much I may sometimes think otherwise, reminds me not to forget my true station and place on the planet.
I suppose I would linger longer on each moment as they came. But then, I probably would arrive late for or miss entirely other commitments I had made previously. And those anticipated moments are important to me also.
A deepening reverence and appreciation for just being alive!
Ideally, if I am truly being present to all that surrounds me and nourishes my life as being gifts of Spirit itself, then I should be breathing deeply with reverence all day long. And if I am truly being honest I have missed precious minutes already.
I am most able to be still and listen, and especially able to listen for the Spirit at work in my life whenever I am sitting in a Quaker meeting for worship. I attend a Quaker Meeting that is un-programmed, meaning we worship together in silence. In our ever clamoring, media drenched world I am especially grateful that this tradition exists.
When have I felt delight? When it comes to children, from those I knew from running a Quaker children’s retreat program, or the children I worked with as clients professionally, I took delight in watching them grow. Today, with six grandchildren all living nearby, I get to watch them grow too. Nothing delights me more than seeing children grow over time into the world around them, as their bodies change and their minds develop, it is simply beautiful to behold.
Stepping into a whaleboat powered by oars and rowing into the morning mist on the ocean. Leaving shortly to do just that!
Thanks Mary. I’ve had fun with this little guy. He’s sitting on the sill right now watching me type! Our cat though likes to jump up on the window sill now and then and declare her dominance. She starts “paw-tapping” my quiet rooster until he falls on the floor!
Before I retired from doing social work with young people, I ran a support group for middle school-aged girls called “Girl Power.” The girls came streaming in after school each week, and I used to create clues for a little prize hidden around the room and the first clue was always to look and see which way my rooster was pointing with his beak!
Today, my rooster is pointing with his beak at me….and after 31 years of working with school-aged children dealing with major issues, it could be argued that I now have “no clue” either! Ha!
Nice to hear from you, Mary. Peace and Joy to you.
How well I remember! I farmed in my younger years and worked with dairy, beef, hogs, turkeys and chickens. I shouldn’t mention how we culled out the extra roosters! Hard to do when they’re more pets than anything else. We had thousands of birds, and stray roosters here and there all over the farm. They protected the hens, and on occasion, the meaner ones would even attack dogs, kids and sometimes us, too!
Now that’s what I call one hot seat! Love your reflection too on a new day unfolding.
Oh, and speaking of chickens and roosters, here’s an image of my “pet” rooster. He sits on the sill in my home office. He’s quiet. Sometimes, he goes outside, too. I place him on a stepladder so he can keep an eye on my neighbors chickens in their coop just over the property line! He makes my 96 year-old next door neighbor laugh.
I will pray for you also, Ursula. Thank you for the opportunity to do so.
You truly are blessed! Such a refreshing “God’s time” is a phrase that Quakers sometimes use too, especially when it comes to taking a long time to come to consensus on a matter. When someone says, “This topic is taking too long!” somebody will say softly, we’re on “God’s time now.”
I admire people who don’t wear a watch. Then again, these same folks sometimes ask me for the time. Not sure what that means, if anything! As for the “age” and “grace” piece, time seems to be an element between those two words also—perhaps reason enough to stop telling time altogether! My best to you, Antoinette.
I love your take on this question, Deb! Thanks.
You know, Aine, my wife, who is also a Quaker, would likely take off for the candlelit stone grotto with you!
Loving your response here, Pilgrim. Thank you!
Visit the Practice Space for more opportunities and insights.
Stay connected to the community by adding people to your list.
This site is brought to you by A Network for Grateful Living, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. All donations are fully tax deductible in the U.S.A.
© 2015 Gratefulness.org, A Network for Grateful Living