Tag Archives: thanksgiving2016

Things Handed Down

Were he still alive, my father would be 76 years old today. With his birthday being so close to Thanksgiving, it’s a simple thing for me to remember him with deepest thanks. Because of him, I am a part of a loving family. I didn’t choose them and they didn’t choose me, but this unplanned life has been nothing but a blessing.

My mother is 76 years old. Because of her, I am a part of a loving family. I give thanks for such a blessing every day.

The same can be said of all those who came before me, unfamiliar names on a family tree that handed down my particular genetic pattern. How can I be anything but thankful  – to those with me, to those who came before me, and to the God who made us all?

Marc Cohn, The Things We’ve Handed Down, The Very Best of Marc Cohn, 2005

Thanks for the Inconvenience

My husband and I were up late on Monday assembling our new Ikea bed. After measuring the room and trying several different models, we chose a Hemnes. We threw in the four large underbed storage drawers, making the bed a space saver as well as a comfortable place to sleep. All the boxes fit in the car, the directions were easy to understand, and we managed to get the whole thing together before midnight – quite an accomplishment for two spatially challenged individuals.

My husband was the first to notice the problem. While the bed fit into the space beautifully, there wasn’t enough room on the sides to pull the drawers out. Either we give up the storage drawers or we reconfigure the room for the first time in five years.

We haven’t decided what we’ll do yet. One way or the other, it hasn’t turned out the way we thought it would. It’s certainly not a devastating dilemma, just an inconvenience and an opportunity to choose storage or furniture placement status quo.

We’ve been laughing about the whole thing these past couple of days – an unexpected blessing courtesy of our spatial shortcomings. The chance to enjoy inconvenience together doesn’t happen so often that I don’t recognize its benefits.

Teach me to treat all that comes to me throughout the day with peace of soul…

Prayer at the Beginning of the Day, A Manual of Eastern Orthodox Prayers, New York: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1991, p. 20

Big Blue Marble

The Earth’s a big blue marble when you see it from up there

The sun and moon declare her beauty’s very rare.

Big Blue Marble theme song

It’s a little over two miles from where we parked to the end of canal. With sunny skies and a brisk breeze at our backs, we set out for the farthest point on the Cape Cod Canal path. A few cyclists, the odd fisherman, and a handful of other walkers shared this extraordinary place and time with us.

A cormorant fanned her wings, standing on a seaweed covered rock; seagulls caught updrafts, skillfully hovering in place. Almost invisible sparrows emerged from the sea grass just a few feet away from us. We left the Sagamore bridge at a bend in the path before we could see the beacon that marked the path’s end. Spiderwebs filled the spaces between the breakwater rocks, sheltered from the ocean currents, blowing sands, and gusting wind.

We spoke a few words out on the breakwater, sharing a few amazing particulars in the vast beauty of ocean, sky, and land. Most of the time, we listened to the wind and water, two small creatures keeping silent before the mystery of nature.

On the walk back, we gathered up the pieces of our everyday life we’d left along the way. Lunch ideas, guesses on when we would get back to the car, and afternoon plans were reclaimed as the bridge and traffic sounds reappeared. The couple of hours spent walking settled into place, a piece of the day among other pieces. Time moved us along its path.

But our walk wasn’t just a way to get from one point to another, and it wasn’t just a photo opportunity – nothing so common as either of these. When the blindness that prevents us from seeing the beauty of this place is healed, when we know we are a part of Life’s story, and when we bow down in gratitude for our small and fleeting part in it? It’s a walk in Eden and a glimpse of heaven.

I am grateful beyond words.

In the company of friends

All who live and visit here shall be friends.

Kindliness and harmony shall be the watchwords.

Welleran Poltarnees, A House Blessing (Seattle, Washington: Blue Lantern Books, 1994) p. 6

For the past few Halloweens, friends have come for dinner, relaxing, catching up, and enjoying the visiting witches and ghosts that brighten our door. There were ten of us this year. For some, it’s the latest in a long line of Halloweens spent together here or there; for others, the first time. But it would be quite a trick to tell them apart. It was a room full of good listeners and good storytellers, with a natural give and take among those who were meeting for the first time and those who’ve known each other for decades.

When the last friend headed home, I looked around the room with its candles, books, origami bats and pumpkins. I cannot say why, but I knew that something of God’s presence had come to dinner. The kindness of friends, a time set apart, a little something to eat and drink. Just your garden variety encounter with the love that binds the universe together found in the company of friends, family, and holy strangers at the door.

halloween 2015