Updated: Dec 2, 2019
I hope that your Thanksgiving was a wonderful one, and that you had the opportunity to experience deep gratitude for your Life.
Notice how I didn’t say “…for the things in your life…” I said “for your Life.”
Last week, I spoke at church about how easy it can be to compartmentalize our gratitude. That is, to be grateful for the stuff we have, yes, but also to lament, long for, or be bitter about the stuff we don’t have.
The truth is, gratitude and lack cannot exist in the same space. We’re either grateful, or we aren’t. Which means we must learn to be grateful for all of our experiences, including the ones that we THINK we don’t want, no matter how bad they seem. We must be grateful for all of the disappointments, the losses, the despair, as well as the peace, serenity, and happiness. ALL OF IT. Because ALL of our experiences make us Who We Are. From the most horrible, to the mildly annoying, to the sublimely joyful, we are Who We Are in this moment because of every single experience we have ever had before this moment.
It’s not an easy ask, this expanding our notion of gratitude to include all the things that we previously have determined we aren’t grateful for. I originally wanted to offer a homily that offered a “pass” for those who may not be feeling grateful during the social pressure of the holidays to be so. But I found myself guided in the opposite direction of that “pass.” Instead of letting ourselves off the hook for the “gratitude attitude,” I am suggesting that we to dive deeper into ourselves, to reflect on the most challenging situations and to really find SOMETHING — ANYTHING in them that brought us an experience that made us unabashedly happy, or relieved, or inspired. You don’t have to tell anyone, this can just be between you and your gratitude journal, or you and you. Feel that power — the power that comes from the embracing of ALL of you…which also neutralizes the power all of the Ego-driven feelings of lack and longing, We go from Thanksgiving to ThanksLIVING!
This means of course, that this season, I am grateful for YOU, and for our Community that enriches and enlivens us. I Am grateful for our community’s financial and volunteer support, spiritual leadership, and camaraderie, the learning and the teaching. And I am also grateful for the blown HVAC System, for the not-that-old computer that suddenly went dead, for paper jams in the printer, no-show volunteers on the schedule, misunderstandings with my dear friends and colleagues, and the absence of congregants who decided that ISD wasn’t for them. All of these experiences make ISD the utterly special, ever-evolving Community of Spirit that we know we are.
We move forward no matter what! So let’s do it with an authentic, honest and compassionate perspective of All That We Are, which must also integrate All That We Aren’t. When we learn to do this, the flow of our gratitude — and the abundance of goodness that it brings us -- cannot be blocked or stalled or stopped.
May we always LIVE Thanks.
Love and gratitude,
For last week’s homily on Gratitude, click here.
For an online library of past ISD’s homilies offered by ISDDC’s talented and dedicated ministerial staff and guest speakers, click here.
PS It's pledge season! Have you renewed your membership for 2020 and made your pledge for the year? it's time!