Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Good morning.  I hope that Thanksgiving Weekend was a blessing to everyone with sufficient food and bountiful friendships.  Three important insights came to me as I was preparing the sermon for Thanksgiving Sunday.  They are included in the sermon itself which can be found on the website.  I wasn't pleased with the structure of my sermon this week but believe that the highlights bear repeating.  First is the amazing story of Jody Mitic, a former soldier who lost his legs in combat.  His drive to recover and thrive is most inspiring and can be found on the web in the W5 program on the Invictus games.  His closing comment that he "wouldn't trade the events of his life" caused me to ponder on the idea of living gratefully.  Did he really mean that he wouldn't trade the pain and hardship?  A Benedictine monk, David Steindl-Rast helped me understand Jody's view a little better.  His quote "You cannot be thankful for every moment, but you can be thankful in every moment" was inspiring and challenging.  He went on to say that in order to be thankful "in" each moment you have to be willing to stop in each moment of your life and truly experience it. You can find this inspiring monk on You Tube. It left me with the conclusion that in order to be grateful "in" each moment we really do need to live an awakened life, being attentive to the opportunities and insights of each moment, even the difficult ones.  What is your experience with living a life of gratefulness?  I'd like to hear your thoughts!

5 comments:

  1. Gratitude is a wonderful thing, but not if it is used to downplay feelings. I don't mean that people should wallow in self-pity, but sometimes you have to work through feelings of sadness, grief, loss, before you get back to feeling grateful. It's kind of cruel, even though well-intentioned, to console anyone with words like "Well at least..." or "It could be worse...". There are moments, even three years after my husband died, when, to me, it could NOT be worse. Of course, I am grateful for the life we had together, but there are times when it's not enough. I am not grateful in every moment, but with the love and support of the Creator, friends and family, I will always find my way back to gratefulness.

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  2. Thanks for sharing that Dianne - and mostly I agree. I wonder if there is a way to be mad as hell at the unfairness of death, sadness in the saying goodbye to what was, and at the same time, hold a spark of gratefulness that can wind its way through the tangle of difficult but necessary emotion. I really liked what Brian said about being thankful IN every moment but not FOR every moment. That is one of the challenges of life I think - to be able to get to that place. Bette Brazier

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  3. Brian - I don't really know how blogs work. I wanted to comment on the service/sermon today but I don't see a spot for it so I'll do it here. It was TOUGH to sit and listen because it is so uncomfortable to face the demons that linger within us - the stereotypes we/I still hold and the default reactions I have when I see...hear...encounter the drunk on the street, the speaker who doesn't show up even though booked far in advance, the speaker who goes on for 30 minutes when given a 5 minute time slot, the client who you squeezed into your schedule and he doesn't come...you get the picture. I grew up in a community with a residential school. The divisions ran deep and wide. Thank you for your sermon, for the discomfort I felt, and for the reflection that it forced - I still have work to do. Bette Brazier

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  4. I agree with Dianne that grief and thankfulness do not easily co-exist. Although we may be thankful for our relationships and the support we receive, the pervasiveness of grief sometimes crowds out feelings of thankfulness.

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  5. Bette I agree that figuring out how to live in relationship with people who hold different cultural values is not easy. Even when reconciliation is the right response, the specifics of individual relationships is not always as easy. Sometimes we need to learn different values and sometimes we simply need to acknowledge the difference.

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