"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can
turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for
today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."
~ Melody Beattie ~
L’Abri, November, 2004….acg
In the old Roman calendar beginning with March, the arrival of winter
was reckoned to begin in the ninth month on November 11th. The Anglo-Saxon
name for November was ‘Blotmonuth’ (Blood Month), the name probably alluding to the custom of slaughtering cattle
for winter victuals. So also with this month comes All Saints’ Day November
1st and All Souls’ Day November 2nd. In sundry
places around the world where I’ve happened to be on these days, much ado is made about the dead. I remember the Paris newspaper LeMonde lamenting the dead and Argentinans in Buenos
Aires emptying florists shops of bouquets for the graves of their beloved departed.
I mark these days with deeply felt remembrance and prayer for all souls both living and dead who have touched my life
in special ways. Ah, and November brings reminders of our founders’ emphasis
on Thanksgiving. Dr. Charles Stanley reminds us that if we are to survive, America,
uniquely blessed among nations, must recapture our ancestors’ soulful earnest gratitude to God -- that we risk losing our freedoms if we continue to remove God from every aspect of our national
life. I preach this sermon to myself, too, and send up petitions for wisdom to
know how to live a life that matters.
Also I mark the passing of autumn by planting
daffodils. Already I’ve buried fifty new bulbs in my trapezoid garden in
anticipation of an April resurrection. I’ve watched the rapid defoliation
of my back yard forest, squirrels burying acorns in my front yard, and busy chipmunks zipping to their dens with winter provisions. Just yesterday I heard the last faint croaks of a cricket before the first heavy frost. Wrens, chickadees, bluejays, and nuthatches from places north have visited my feeder in large numbers, some to winter here and others to move further south. About once a week now, a family of five deer have made their trek across my backyard
and into my neighbor’s premises, grazing their way along trails no doubt used by their ancestors in ages past. I observe, listen, remember, and offer thanks for my passing parade and for the blessed
awareness of life.
at freedom: We may have come to accept it casually – freedom to live where
we want, to worship as we want, to work at what we want; freedom from intrusion
upon the privacy of our homes, freedom to read and to think as we wish: Once
let it be lost – as it has been by so many men (or as it has never been known by so many men) -- and we should soon see how unspeakably thankful we would be for freedom.
If we need any added evidence of what we have to be thankful for, let there be taken from us even the least of the
seemingly simple things that make life livable, and we should soon feel unbelievably blessed to have back what we may now
have come to consider as commonplace.” Richard L. Evans, Tonic for our Times