I want to live with gratitude day by day, mindful that everything is gift. My hope is to share in response to the Giver and the gift given.
The gift of morning is truly gift. My place in the world at this moment. Where hummingbirds hummm, apples fall ripe, squirrels leap limb to limb, the doe protects the faun grazing near the buck, the last of the tomatoes hang full. So much is unsettling, troubling waters, rising fear, violence near. Yet somewhere – here, now – is calm ordinary beauty and a dearly beloved dog still sleeps. This is grace: undeserved favor.
I’ll begin with my wife. She speaks truth to me – even when I’d rather not hear it. My daughters who love me and continue to teach me. My best friend for 3o years whom I can rely on to share everything.
I wrote a letter to my younger daughter sharing how much I love her and continue to give thanks for her and learn from her. I also expressed my happiness at her upcoming marriage.
Sitting quietly in nature, listening, looking. It’s all wondrous to me.
Letting go of the assumption that life is a process and one never arrives home until death opens the door.
I have a simple practice of listening to and singing Psalms in the morning. The poetry of Psalm 19 inspires me to consider the “words of my mouth the meditations of my heart.”
I am an Enneagram 7. Fun is an essential part of being human, as is adventure, searching, creating. Birdwatching often captures all of this and more. Being at a baseball game is sublime and fun, as is walking in the woods.
I’m getting a little bit better – after all these years – of accepting my failures and learning from them, rather than sink into self-blame and some form of denial.
Share whenever possible whatever is possible.
Listening to the sounds of creation. Singing the Psalms. Prayer + Scripture.
I’ve been learning and relearning the songs of birds. It’s a joy to distinguish one from the other, in the same way I hear the different voices of humans. The summer tanager has a different call than the scarlet tanager. The white-eyed vireo is distinctively different than the red-eyed vireo. All joy.
My father was a POW for 42 months during WWII. He survived. Later he taught me not to hate my enemies because he didn’t. I learned courage from him and gratitude in all things.
When I walked the Camino de Santiago I wrote a chant/prayer for this purpose that I recited frequently during the day. I still do. “I will receive this day with gratitude and an open heart.”
I decided not to react to an aggressive “baiting” comment but rather responded with calm curiosity. They led to a better conversation.
I asked for a sabbatical to walk the Camino de Santiago. My Leadership Board granted that sabbatical and blessed me on my way. Six years later, the 541 miles pilgrimage remains a significant transformative time in my life.
There is something I can’t explain about the sound of the ticking of the clock while I sit in morning silence open to the day that is emerging with the light.
What comes to mind this morning: a warm home, a life partner who cares for me, despite my foilbles, our two daughters with whom I’m close, the chance for bird watching and hiking. These are things for which I’m very grateful – and fortunate.
On a perfect day I would ride my bicycle all over the neighborhood, sometimes across bridges out to the ocean. Perfect freedom. Occasionally I would ride over to the woods and sit in my fort among the trees and bushes.
Great question. My first response is that everything is lost in death. Yet, the second response is the theological conviction that nothing is every lost. My teacher Roberta Bondi once said this is the power of the resurrection: that ultimately nothing is lost. I of course can’t know what that experience will be like, I only anticipate what is lost in death which is everything mortal.
Thank you. Glad you can use the chant.
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