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L'Abri Journals...ACGray

Nov 2004
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"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 ~

            Chalet 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.    

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“Let’s look 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

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