7 Things For Which I Am Grateful (Part 2)
April 1st, 2019
Sometimes life’s rubble and trouble are stacked so high that we have difficulty seeing over it. Here are a few things that let light shine through the cracks in that impenetrable wall.
3. I am blessed with people who care.
Have you ever had your spirit lifted by eliciting a smile from a baby? Did you ever reflect on a life well-lived while sitting by the bedside of a mentor who was dying? Have you ever seen a tear when you share someone’s woeful story with another? Have you felt the furry snuggle of a puppy comforting you when you are in pain?
There are as many ways of expressing care as there are creatures and situations. When I think of the thousands of people who receive a touch as they come through UCOM, it gladdens me. Some of our neighbors remark on a warm greeting, a kind or helpful word, a beaming smile or a gentle touch that brightened their day. Sometimes caring shows itself in tougher ways—a reality check, a correction, maybe even a bit of nagging about self-care. The important part is that the caring shows through the word or action.
Of all the people who care I am most affected by those who do so almost automatically. They seem inherently programmed to be present to the person they are engaging. Caring people are in the moment and they endure past the immediate. They continue to care when I am sad or harsh or confused. They protect or nourish or correct me even when I reject their nurturing. It does not matter if we disagree because our relationship is not about who is right or wrong. It is about presence and wholeness.
My life has been saved over and over by people who care. Countless people receive strength to go on because we know someone cares. While you are thinking with me of some of those people who care for you, be aware that you are also a care-er, and I am grateful for you.
4. Hope illuminates my life.
Have you ever felt the aching, chilling void of hopelessness? When you can see no options—no way out or even through—even day time is dark. There are no more straws to be grasped.
That bone-crushing anxiety, the gloom that is never going to lift, the ache in the stomach that seems to hold on forever sap the vitality until there is no strength to continue. Even when a light flashes with an idea of something to do that might help, it vanishes before it can be acted upon.
I am grateful that, when life is at its worst, there is still a brief glimmer of hope.
The warble of a bird in the dreaded stillness pricks the spirit with hope. A deep breath that quiets clamoring anxiety for a second reveals a rumble of hope in the distance. Deep within us, uncrushed, hope throbs subtly with every heartbeat.
No matter how sunny or cloudy the day, this will pass. Both hope and fear whisper or shout that change is changeless.
It is faith that activates hope. As we cultivate faith, as we experience life’s dizzying changes of circumstance, as we reflect that most of our lives have been pretty good, the more faith we have that this sadness will pass, and life will be good again. Then the light comes on—however dim or wavering—until faith revives hope, and hope explodes in all its vivid colors. This is how we move on through life, experiencing day and night, storm and calm, and knowing a peace that makes life worthwhile until it can be joyful and dynamic again.
I have many dark days, do you? My salvation is in faith that activates hope that illuminates me enough to get me to the next beauty that is just there on the horizon.
I am grateful for hope.