Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Beauty amid Interesting Times

I have been quiet for a couple days here, and when I've wanted to post, have come up against a brick wall. I wanted to write something insightful or witty or thoughtful, and send you away nodding and thinking, or shaking your head violently, or at the very least taking something away, no matter how small. But this is not why I created this blog: the original intent is to practice the spiritual discipline of gratitude, on a daily basis. Some days, it's easier to feel grateful than others, especially when one lives in the midst of Interesting Times, but I am trying to be disciplined in finding things to be grateful for, even when this is tough. It was the first discipline recommended to me by my first spiritual director, and it has been an important source of light for me in dark times. So today, amid the chaos and confusion, amid the anger and hurt and fear, I seek gratitude.

  • I am grateful for the springtime. Despite the pollen, I love sleeping with the windows wide open. Since my alarm is set for shortly after sunrise begins, the last couple nights, I've kept the curtains wide open as well. Last night, I could make out the glow of the nearly-full moon behind the trees, and it was peaceful and lovely.
  • On Saturday, I did my laundry, just like every Saturday. And Sunday morning, I'd forgotten that I had a fresh, clean towel waiting for me. When I reached for it after my shower, I pressed it to my face, and it smelled fresh and wonderful. I paused for a moment, inhaling it, luxuriating in the pure sensual pleasure of that moment. I am thankful that we are sensual beings; this is a tremendous gift from God, and I try to make the most of it by noticing all the sensory delights that God surrounds us with.
  • I am incredibly grateful to see the azaleas blooming. Azaleas grow like weeds here in southeastern Virginia, and there are places that have enormous, old azalea bushes with their riotous red and white and pink blossoms. Azaleas never fail to make me smile.
  • I am also very thankful for and to my physical therapist. Even though he makes me work hard, and even though he does some manipulations that hurt, I can feel that my shoulder is getting stronger and that he is helping me. I will have to keep up with the exercises for my entire life, but I'm very glad to be learning and doing the right things for my body.
The blessing I wish for you today, is that your eyes and ears and hands and mouth and nose will be open to all of the sensory delights that God has placed in your path. May you see beauty, hear harmony, feel peace, taste deliciousness, and smell loveliness. I pray that these delights will bring a song to your heart and a dance to your prayers, and that you will join me in deep and humble and joyful gratitude for the gorgeous Creation that has been placed in our care.