Gratitude

Gratitude is the gravy which comes before the end of the meal.

Smothering all our blessings,

Resealing them with the goodness that delivered them.

Particularly when we are not expecting,

Or deserving of them.

  

Gratitude is the ability to keep an open heart,

To be thankful, but in a real way,

Not with just a smile or handshake,

But with thanks given from inside, from the soul.

No holdback, no agenda, just thanksgiving.

 

Gratitude is not expecting thanks for your work or deeds,

For then our work is worthless in the eyes of God,

Merely done for glory,

Or some other purpose.

Gratitude is a rush of grace, delivered not expecting payment or reward.

 

Only then we feel gratitude,

Receive gratitude,

And then, like a mirror,

Grace is reflected in the face of the giver,

Who loves you for what you have done, and what you are.

 

So today, let us feel gratitude being here together,

As the Body of Christ,

Celebrating His gift of gratitude, as we give to each other,

And those in need of a retreat, solace, or just a kind, listening ear.

For it is in our outpouring we also receive.

The gift of gratitude, now being coddled and held within us all.

 

Let us leave this place grateful

Grateful for the sun rising,

For the heat in our homes,

The fresh tea on the stove,

And the love of God which dwells within.

Amen

Hopes and Wishes

Here I comes again, another daily wish.

This time something which will make my day easier,

An expected compliment,

Some reward, expected, but not too expected.

Like butterflies in my head,

In My own little garden of Eden.  

However, wishes, like butterflies, are often fleeting,

Requested by my ego, to make my life,

Even more perfect.

I often call them hopes as well,

And when I really want them, hopes and wishes.

However, they have little to do with hope,

At least hope as it comes from God.

How long have I misunderstood this,

That hope is confidence,

Not confidence born of me, but of God.

This gift is given freely,

And is always available, unlike my butterfly wishes,

Which often only serve me, even when disguised through petitions.

Turning off the wishes faucet my make me aware of the other source.

 

The one which controls the light in this darkened room.

And fills it with grace and love.

Hopes and Wishes

Recently, while leading a retreat on Hope, someone gave great insight into the issue of hope. Rather, the topics of wishes and hope.

It seems today, more than ever, we replace the word wish with hope in our everyday language. I hope you pass that examination successfully; I hope you get that new job, I hope I get a promotion at work, you get the idea. Many of these “hopes” are, in reality, just wishes. So what is the difference between the two? For many, at least in a secular, everyday sense, there is little or no difference. The word hope has sort of lost its theological meaning, which is, it is a virtue and gift from God. Turning inward towards ourselves, many of us use the word which represents something compelling, into just a daily litany of requests for myself or others close by me.

One way I differentiate wishes from hope in this way is to consider wishes like butterflies. These are landing from one spot to another, many occurring during a day, week, or month. Some may be more meaningful than others, but they fall into a category of continuing requests, which seem to have little to do with God and the virtue of hope.

On the other hand, Hope is a gift that we cannot see; it is a permanent presence of an expectation of God’s action in our lives, even when we least expect it. Hope is there for us, perhaps not to see, but rather to feel. It is knowing that God is there for us. Providing us with a confidence which does not reside in our minds but instead emanating from our soul. This gift, which is not of our doing, is directly transmitted to our heart from our soul, thereby giving us this peace-filled confidence He will be there for us. Always. And when it matters most.

Perhaps this week, we can consider the gift of hope. It is a gift freely given to us, and how we can appreciate it without tying it to a bundle of our personal needs. Instead, it is there to give us innate confidence that God will always be there for us; regardless of the circumstances and conditions. All we have to do it have an open heart and an expectation. An expectation best expressed by the mystic Julian of Norwich when she said. “All will be well, all manner of things will be well.”