Sunday, November 22, 2015

What Are You Thankful For?

We went to the local church today. It's a very small non-denominational community church and only a handful of people attend. The new pastor and his wife are both very nice. They're young and full of energy. I have a special regard for the pastor's wife, Anna, who helped get my friend and teacher Anna Dearing get to the hospital last weekend.

Teacher Anna is back in the hospital again with kidney and liver trouble made worse by a misdiagnosis. She has pneumonia. I'm really pulling for her to recover because she is one of my dearest friends. She might even be my only friend out here in the Elk Creek area outside of Marty.

The pastor, Joe, gave a very energetic talk. It's such a small congregation that he frequently calls out to one of the persons in the congregation to ask them a question or to make a comment. Today I almost expected him to leap into the aisle a la Steve Martin in "Leap of Faith" but he didn't. He stayed up on the dais and walked around up there in a most energetic way while emphasizing his points.

He made a lot of good points. I'm not a Bible thumper but I'm open minded enough to know wisdom when I hear it. I've been around the block and been exposed to a lot of different practices. I'd say, by in large, that the basic tenants of most of the main systems of religious thought are remarkably similar. So when I hear it proposed in a specific proprietary way and it seems sensible to me I listen regardless of the source.

Joe (let's just call him Joe without the pastor part. I appreciate he's a person who tries to lead by example and thinks about life in a deep way. What his affiliation is not important.) Anyway, Joe was talking about being positive today. About how to find the positive in whatever befalls you. It was a good reminder to not get mired down in thinking about something in a dogmatic way. Instead to examine it from all angles. Of course, Joe was speaking of it from a Christian point of view and he used a lot of passages from the Bible. One in particular was from Colossians which is a book that was written by the apostle Paul. Still and all it was a pretty good passage and it reminded me how there's a lot of ways to look at stuff. The thing is what it is but how you experience and react to it can be a list as long as your arm. It's your choice.

Wisdom is where you find it. If it leads to wisdom no path is better than any other.

Joe was leading up to this: what do you have to be thankful for? His idea was this: if you can take something in your life that bums you out and make it into something that you can learn from, or that supports you, or has a good use, then you can transform your life into a process that creates peace. 

I'm thankful for: (the short list)

my partner who loves me even when I'm not my best
my daughter who continuously amazes me with her ability for compassion
living in a country that lets me speak my mind
the food on my plate
the air that I breathe
my fingers, toes, eyes, and ears
my sister and friends who are always there for me
this amazing planet full of beauty
people all over the world who fight against anger, hate and violence in their daily lives by their very existence or by their active involvement.

What are you thankful for?


  1. Today, I am thankful for the life of my mother. I am thankful that through all her pain and illnesses, she was a loving and thoughtful person who genuinely cared for others and tried to help to the best of her abilities. People told all sorts of stories about her and her caring actions and it really opened my eyes to the person she was, and it makes me sad that I wasn't around home to be a part of her life these last few years (ok, 35 years!!).

    1. Wow, that's a long time. I am thankful for the life of my mother, too. I was crappy daughter the last few years of her life. I lived so far away and I was always broke so I didn't visit as often as I should or wanted to. I did my best which is all anyone can do so I forgive myself. I talked to her on the phone every chance I got. She, like your mother, was a pretty cool person.

  2. See, that is exactly how it was with us. I have lived in AL for 35 years, only get home every 3-4. She used to be able to get here but her health stopped that a few years ago. I didn't speak with her as often as I should, thus the crappy daughter guilt. Not the best daughter I could/should have been. That is a hard pill to swallow. Why is it we always vow to do better, then fail at even that? Forgiveness will come, eventually.

  3. I've read so much my whole life. I spent all my summers at the library when I was a kid. I kept up with reading and I still do. One of the books I've read is a popular culture self help book called The Four Agreement by Don Miguel Ruiz. It tries to give credibility to itself by saying the ancient Toltecs came up with the ideas but you know what? I think it's hogwash. No bolstering needed. The ideas in the book are sound all by themselves. One of the agreements is Always Do Your Best. It makes a case for we are always doing our best. There's more to it than that but in the interest of brevity I'll just say it helped me forgive myself for not being what I thought I should be. My mother, I'm sure, would have approved. She gave me my love of that thing called The Examined Life. Yay mom. I love you.