Grief and Gratitude

Give thanks to THE LIVING GOD, who is good; and whose love endures forever. Psalm 118, 1.

Friends, we are in a time of holding both grief and gratitude. These days, when I am deeply touched by a gesture or words of kindness or truth, I feel tears welling up. Sadness is a pool within me that’s a little too full. It overflows often, and surprises me when I am not conscious of being sad. Too many large and small losses have piled up over the past few years, and many have gone unacknowledged. And I am aware that all around me are people in a similar situation. How kind we must be to one another these days. Listening, praying, making space for the pile of grief each is carrying into our encounters.

And gratitude. Whether we live gratefully or not I love that one of our biggest holidays is centered around giving thanks . No day goes by without gifts for which we can be grateful, and many of these come to us in the midst of a time of grief. My yoga teacher invites me to thank my body after every class for doing (or trying to do) what I ask of it. The view of our yard out the window to my left invites me to thank creation for its faithful offering of beauty and sustenance. Encounters in person and via the internet invite me to be grateful to many whose faithful love and work is offered for the wellbeing of others. And within us and around us, God’s constant presence is a source of strength and joy that invites me to thank Her for unfailing grace and love.

There is space for both gratitude and grief in our hearts. Acknowledging our grief is not ungrateful. It is an opportunity to let creation, others, and God heal and comfort; a means to understand and be kind to others who are grieving; and to gently shine with the light of gratitude and peace.

May this time of Thanksgiving be one of healing, comfort and deep joy.

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