Since nearly the beginning of the pandemic, I have been faithfully keeping a new gratitude journal, keeping it close at hand all day, recording the things for which I am thankful. The epigraph on the front reads: “Grateful for the sun & the earth & the memories of what it is to love everything Life has brought me.” (Brian Andreas). It has been an anchor in these many days of not knowing–what is coming next, what to expect, what is lost, how to proceed. However, in reviewing it this week into the sixth month of sheltering in place, I find that my focus has been very narrow, for the most part checking out my own bubble in the world, not noticing where grace, peace and mercy are flowing in the wider world.
I am challenged this week to lift my eyes and open my ears to the Good News and Actions around me in the world, among faithful people, in what I know and have experienced in the way the Holy works in the world.
- I am thankful for truth tellers, and for the truth that is incontrovertible, if not uncontroversial.
- I am grateful for those who are honorable. who do the right thing with respect and mercy for others and themselves.
- I give thanks when justice is served by people with agency and vision.
- I am thankful for those who are pure in heart, and, therefore, whose response and actions are purely loving and gracious, even if some would call them naive.
- I rejoice and give thanks for the things that are pleasing–beauty, grace. laughter, music, color, art, good food and drink, sweet aromas, soft textures and open skies.
- I am thankful for the ones who are commendable, who go above and beyond what anyone expects, who show up, standup, put up, shut up when the situation calls for it, despite the prevailing mood and chatter.
- I savor with gratitude those who continue to pursue and savor excellence in their appointed rounds, whether it is in the fine arts, folk art, outsider art, pop art or the arts of silence, making a home, crafting a piece of furniture, or raising a child who loves and lives fully in this world.
I am learning to stop in my daily commentary to notice and to say: “Listen to that graceful reply!” “Look at that open acceptance!” “How full of mercy that response was!” “Look at that generous giving of time and energy!” Thank you, thank you thank you!
With the ash-filled, polluted air all up and down this coast, with the Covid-19 virus still very much alive and well, with the vitriol that spills over the airways and through cyberspace, I find some days, that I have to dig deep and wide for objects of gratitude. However, this week, as I have lifted my eyes, broadened my gaze, deepened my trust, I have discovered again so much goodness of God, so much love of Life, so much breeze and energy of the Spirit, “How can I keep from singing?”