The Way of Gratitude

Called to gratitude…

Called to recognize the Divine in everything…

Called to the depths and heights…

Called to love, mercy, compassion, forgiveness,

hospitality to all…

Called by you, Lord, to be present in this moment …

Called to serve…

Called to give abundantly as we’ve been given to…

Called by our very nature to be what you created us to be…

 The Life of the Spirit is first of all about gratitude. Without gratitude there is only dry belief, duty, obligation, judgment, and fear. With gratitude it’s like the whole world opens up to love, joy, oneness, and through them to forgiveness, connectedness, vocation.

 Let’s start with gratitude for the most basic gift: the gift of life itself! Life itself is so wonder-filled and awe-some: that I am living! Alive! Breathing! Seeing all there is to see! Hearing and feeling and sensing! That I am surrounded everyday by such beauty, that I am given precious others to journey with, that I exist at all!! It’s amazing…AMAZING!.

 And then there is gratitude that I feel for being me: that I’ve been created to be a certain kind of person with all the humanness and divinity combined in me. I can grovel like a reptile or I can soar with the angels—the choice is mine, always. That I make mistakes and can sometimes correct them. That I can love, sometimes well. That I could come out of the repression of a hell-fire-and-damnation “God” into living in the God of love. That I could find God in myself and in my life and let God lead me to the truest part of myself, to what I was created to be. That I have known love, been loved, however imperfectly.

 And then there is the gratitude I feel for my children—how can I express how much gratitude I feel for having these three teachers of mine. How they opened me up as I grew along with them, always adjusting my expectations of what they should be, how they should live, as I came to surrender to the reality of who they were created to be(sometimes gracefully, other times not so gracefully). I absolutely love being a part of their lives. And now to see them as adults and be a close part of their lives as they unfold! Wow!

 And the gratitude I feel for my partner in life, Hank–my marriage partner for 37 years plus the 3 years we dated. What can I say about this wonderful, very human man who loved me when I thought I was unlovable, who modeled a very accepting welcome to all people, who taught me how to come out of a great shyness, who taught me all I know about music and surrounded me with beauty through music, who honored the feminine throughout his life. Partner, lover, teacher, companion, fellow sufferer through all the ups and downs of life. I cannot express at all how grateful I am for his presence in my life and how I miss him in his death.

 And the gratitude I feel for the beauty of this world—how do I express how I depend on beauty to be who I am? My eyes seek it in every landscape, in the people I know, in the presence of God. When I see it, I am filled, complete, whole. I am so grateful for the beautiful world we live in.

 And the gratitude I feel for my work—I am so a product of the 40’s and 50’s! I never thought about a career, but I did work as a bank teller after graduation to help put my husband through college. Later I worked as a buyer for a chain of women clothing stores and then as a West Coast merchandise manager. But I really only wanted to be a wife and mother. As I stayed home to take care of house and children, I volunteered at the kids’ schools and in my church. So that was a full life—all I had dreamed of—until in my early 40’s this thought came to me: You have an agenda for your life! That was a totally new thought, but one that changed me forever. Inspired by the Holy Spirit I began a quest to find out who the “I” was who had an agenda and what that agenda was. Many years later I am living into that agenda with all that I do.

 And the companions I’ve had along the way: I am so grateful for old friends and new, ones I am in touch with, others I’ve let go out of my life. Church members/fellow travelers, people who read my blogs, groups I’ve been in and led. I am so grateful that the Life of the Spirit is not a lonely one, that we need helpers/fellow journeyers to remind us, to reflect to us, to give us other ways to think and to be. We humans need community all the time.

 And I am grateful for the times of suffering…the year when my twins were born and my husband had a kidney removed and the twins were in the hospital again twice and we moved—all in six months time, the agony of being a fearful, doubting person, the yearning for a God of love while living with a god of judgment, the death of my husband at sixty and all the other big and little traumas of my life. First of all, I am grateful for them because I would not be who I am today without any one of these problems lived through. And secondly, in one way or another, these events and unhappiness pushed me deeper and deeper into my self, so that I found peace and love within myself as I got into a deeper relationship with God.

 Have I left anything out? Oh, yes, the biggest thing: God, the creator and visionary who placed us here together with great thoughtfulness and compassion and caring. The One who continues to love and forgive and recreate us in his image. I am eternally—literally—grateful to have the God of love as my constant companion and as guide in my life. All the richness and beauty and connectedness and promise and love are due to God alone.

 And so I walk the Way of gratitude: looking for God’s presence in events and people in my life, paying attention to all that God brings me and doing what I feel called to do in the name of All there is—the Christ consciousness that binds us in love, connects us with all other people and creatures, plants and rocks, seas and hills. Thanks be to God!


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