The Rev. Janice Ford, Rector
The Church of the Reconciliation (Episcopal)
5 N. Main Street, Webster, MA
The month of November is primarily noted for three things: remembering our dead; being thankful; and the traditional start of the holiday season. I don’t know about you, but it’s the “being thankful” that is problematic for a lot of people right now. Consider this: our environment is becoming more and more fragile; we continue to experience extremes of weather—the kind that costs life and property; our economy continues to struggle; we are busier than ever, yet constantly complain about needing meaning in our lives; we are over-worked, over-weight, and over-stressed; we are dangerously disconnected from one another in spite of all the social networks we continue to invent; and for many people, God has become a dinosaur.
How can we ever be thankful when we are dealing with all this? I have come to believe that gratitude is really only possible when it comes as a result of being resilient in the face of difficulty. In other words, it is only because our lives are fraught with challenges, and sometimes outright tragedy, that we realize we are grateful for all the things that sustain us—our faith, family, and friends, and even the opportunities that arise out of those things that try to knock us down over and over again.
We would never be grateful for our health, had we never been sick. We would never be grateful for water, had we never experienced thirst. We would never be grateful for the beauty of the earth, had we never witnessed its destruction. We would never be grateful for the lives of those around us, had we had never suffered the loss of someone we love. It is in the experience of loss that we understand what it means to be truly grateful. Often times just the thought of losing someone precious to us leads us to bless God for giving them to us.
In this month traditionally set aside to express our gratitude for “the blessings in our lives,” we should also take a few minutes to also think about all the things that have happened for which we are NOT grateful. That may seem a bit confusing, and maybe even undesirable, but I believe that such a “life review” might be quite revealing. We may discover the reasons why we treasure the people we do, or why certain things are more important to us than others. The greatest value in it, though, it may that it prompts us to realize we should express our gratitude to God and others for helping us to work through the most difficult times and events in our lives.
- Sunday, 11 November 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Religion