November Gratitude–for inexorability

photo by Josh Scholten

“God has paid us the intolerable compliment of loving us, in the deepest, most tragic, most inexorable sense.”
C.S. Lewis

Relentless, unstoppable, inescapable, inevitable, unavoidable, irrevocable, unalterable, unceasing love.  It has always been, is now, and always will be.  Intolerable as nothing I have done warrants it.

I’m discovering what it means to accept this gift of grace.  I need inexorability too–nonstop and continuously–in expressions of gratitude, forgiveness, and loving.

Never ending and unrelenting.

November Gratitude–for longing

photo by Josh Scholten

“It was when I was happiest that I longed most…The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing…to find the place where all the beauty came from.”
C.S. Lewis

Like the child who longs for Christmas, anticipating for weeks what that moment will be like when they see gifts piled high under the tree,  we revel in longing.  It is the sweetness of the “already but not yet”, knowing there is more to come, something far more wonderful and beautiful than we can ever imagine…

November Gratitude–Breathing

photo by Josh Scholten

Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing. 
Scout Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird

How can I appreciate something that is a constant, so predictable that it never registers in my consciousness until the moment it is rent asunder, as fragile as a web hanging heavy with evening frost?

Within that deprivation, with the realization that what I rely on for my very existence is no longer a given, suddenly it becomes the most precious thing of all.

For that ephemeral acceptance of my fragility, I am truly and forever grateful.

November Gratitude–for stockings with legs

photo by Josh Scholten

“When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time.  Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs?”  ~ G.K. Chesterton

Our nature is to ignore and take for granted the miracle of our mere existence.  We wanted more from the very beginning and look where that got us.

“Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.  They paved paradise, and put up a parking lot.”  Joni Mitchell

I don’t want to wait until my legs are no longer operational to acknowledge the wonder of walking and running and skipping and dancing and even standing still.   Mobility is a precious gift for those of us blessed to possess it.  It’s incumbent on us to walk far and long, simply because we can.  If I start out in the farthest corner of the parking lot, maybe, just maybe it will be paradise again by the time I reach my destination.

November Gratitude–heart with a welcome mat photo by Josh Scholten

Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come–
Chinese Proverb

I need reminding that what I offer from my heart reflects what I will receive there.  If I’m grumpy and grumbling like a dying vine instead of a green tree, then no singing bird will come.  Instead my heart becomes filled with aphids and cobwebs that feed off my discouragement.

So much better to nurture the singers of joy and gladness, with an attitude of gratitude.  The welcome mat is out and waiting.  Any time now… photo by Josh Scholten

November Gratitude–Even More So photo by Josh Scholten

You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink. –G.K. Chesterton

Chesterton has it right.  No matter what I embark on, I should say grace first.  Even my waking, my breathing and my sleeping.  Continual and constant thanks and praise.  Instead I am plagued with inconstancy and inconsistency, taking it all for granted.

So I plan to say grace daily before “dipping pen in ink” during this month of thanksgiving.  Even more so.  Ever more now.

November Gratitude–For A Memorable Proclamation

Norman Rockwell's Thanksgiving

I am thankful for a day that is celebrated universally across the United States without becoming a focus of political or religious controversy.  Everyone agrees it is good to be grateful for our blessings.  This proclamation, from 1936, says it so well.

A Connecticut Thanksgiving Proclamation
State of Connecticut
By His Excellency WILBUR L. CROSS, Governor

ProclamationThanksgiving Proclamation

Time out of mind at this turn of the seasons when the hardy oak leaves rustle in the wind and the frost gives a tang to the air and the dusk falls early and the friendly evenings lengthen under the heel of Orion, it has seemed good to our people to join together in praising the Creator and Preserver, who has brought us by a way that we did not know to the end of another year. In observance of this custom, I appoint Thursday, the twenty-sixth of November, as a day of

Public Thanksgiving

for the blessings that have been our common lot and have placed our beloved State with the favored regions of earth — for all the creature comforts: the yield of the soil that has fed us and the richer yield from labor of every kind that has sustained our lives — and for all those things, as dear as breath to the body, that quicken man’s faith in his manhood, that nourish and strengthen his spirit to do the great work still before him: for the brotherly word and act; for honor held above price; for steadfast courage and zeal in the long, long search after truth; for liberty and for justice freely granted by each to his fellow and so as freely enjoyed; and for the crowning glory and mercy of peace upon our land; — that we may humbly take heart of these blessings as we gather once again with solemn and festive rites to keep our Harvest Home.

Given under my hand and seal of the State at the Capitol, in Hartford, this twelfth day of November, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and thirty six and of the independence of the United States the one hundred and sixty-first.

Wilbur L. Cross

November Gratitude–for Starry Nights

The rains stopped.  The sky cleared of clouds.  The stars washed clean and sparkling.  Tonight is a swoon-worthy expanse of immensity.

I am a mere particle existing within the atom that is earth which is part of the molecule that is the solar system, inside the galaxy nucleus, contained in the cell of the cosmos which is the building block of the organism of the Creator’s universe.

I’m grateful to be a very tiny part of something so grand.

Starry Starry Night --Vincent Van Gogh