This is the first day of Advent and as well, the beginning of Hanukkah. Holiday songs and colorful lights abound independent of our religious beliefs. For all of us, it is a time of remembrance and celebration, a time we focus on family and friends. During these December days, we remember those we love and often through a gift we say, thank you for being you.
While children excitedly enjoy the magic, most of us wander through stores looking for gifts or delicacies for the family gatherings. Sometimes in the midst of our activity we forget that the season is really about thanksgiving. Why would we not?
When weather threatens us, fires surround us, and elected officials leave us gasping, why would any of us feel gratitude?
If we can step back from our troubled world, we can be overwhelmed by gratitude evoked by a kind word, a helpful hand, a warm embrace, or even unexpected laughter. The little things of life come alive, when we pause long enough to listen to our hearts. Aren’t these little things what is most important in life?
Sometimes life’s challenges help us value the little things. This year, I’ve been dealing with an ailment requiring a lot of bed rest. It’s been an adventure that I would not have chosen, but I can honestly say that I’m grateful for the experience. I’ve learned so much about love, about life, and about our collective and individual journeys. Most of that learning has come through seeing the little things of life that often go unnoticed.
Even with the health handicap, much was accomplished. Author John W. Howell and I published The Contract, and to our astonishment, we are ready to send its sequel to the editor. Amazing, right?
Through one challenge or another, life goes on. So it is that I share that I’ve a medical hurdle to tackle over the next couple of weeks. Because of that, I may be absent from social media for a bit. I look forward to wholeheartedly rejoining you in the New Year. Till then, thank you for accompanying me. You have become family and from you, I have learned so much.
I close with a brief but beautiful message from Br. David Steindl-Rast.