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Love and gratefulness.
At this time in my life, many challenges come to mind when I think about my grandparents and parents.
There is only one brilliant boy, my paternal grandfather’s father, who lights up a picture that I feel is gray as an autumn morning.
That said I am what I am also thanks to them and I am sure that in their own way they have tried to show me their love.
So my practice now may be to fill my picture with colors.
Being grateful for both my parents who were High School sweethearts. However, they both struggled as a young couple with 4 children. My Mother wanted to be a nurse but didn’t become one until I was almost graduating from High School. It was her life time dream. My father was an Engineer who worked very hard providing for our family. He was in school fulltime when I was very young. They both grew up in Utica NY and I am thankful for a decision to move out of upstate NY to New England. I very much love New England and have lived here for many years in many different areas (MA, NH and RI) plus college in VT. Both my parents struggled growing up, my Dad speaks about the Great Depression and his Dad losing his Banking job and his Mother going back to work as a very successful Secretary for General Electric. My Mother’s Dad died when she was 2 years old and her Mother suffered from Depression during her childhood. Both my parents were very strong influences and for that I am grateful : )
It is a little hard to describe. It is like all of those lives were steps towards a much larger completion of time and space. I think the Genisis story points to it. The unfolding culminating in a rest and completion on the seventh day. All of these lives, including my own, is an unfolding towards that final seventh day of rest and completion. There is so much Hope, Love and Grace in that promise.
Gratitude for my father, who worked so hard to provide us with the basics and more in life. He had so little growing up, yet he wanted to provide what his children needed and wanted. I am forever grateful to him.
Desire and intention to do all I can with what I have been given.
Awareness that my life as a middle-class white woman in the US rests on a great deal of privilege and that all should be as fortunate as I have been.
A smile thinking of my mother and all she taught me, and my father’s dry chuckle when I said something that amused him.
A feeling of awe. The fact that I am here
at all is due to thousand of strokes of
luck. The fact that I carry the spark of
electricity that has been passed from
Person to person, life form to life form.
Like a village fire that wasn’t allowed to go
out. Carefully brought from place to place.
When I think of my ancestors, I go all the
way back to the murky pond.
This reminds me of Stephen Jay Gould’s book Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History. It’s an examination of the many, many strokes of evolutionary luck that led to us being here now, starting back in the murky pond. Made me want to go visit the Burgess Shale in Canada someday!
I am aware of the great sacrifices of those that came before me- especially my mother. How very hard she worked to take care of me and protect me. Her blood runs through my veins ….and how very Blessed I am that she was my Mom. I am thankful for who I am…brought about by who my ancestors were.
To answer today’s question, I share a Morning Med I wrote in 2016. It explains how giving thanks for those who came before me is a regular practice for me and not only gives me a love filled feeling but also provides me with the strength and willingness to persevere in challenging times.
Morning Meds, August 29 2016 We never walk alone
“As we grow older we have more and more people to remember, people who have died before us. It is very important to remember those who have loved us and those we have loved. Remembering them means letting their spirits inspire us in our daily lives. They can become part of our spiritual communities and gently help us as we make decisions on our journeys. Parents, spouses, children, and friends can become true spiritual companions after they have died. Sometimes they can become even more intimate to us after death than when they were with us in life. Remembering the dead is choosing their ongoing companionship.” Henri Nouwen
Good Morning, I chose to share this quote because I call on my ancestors often. I claim their strength and many times ask for their help. I especially like the last sentence in Nouwen’s quote: “Remembering the dead is choosing their ongoing companionship.”
While living in Arizona, I volunteered to work at a free alternative medicine clinic which was held once a month at an Episcopal church in Bisbee. One of the practitioners I met there gave spiritual readings. She was a gifted psychic and I will never forget the day I met her. I was on my break and when I entered the church activity building kitchen for lunch, she was seated at the kitchen table and her loving energy just permeated the entire room. I immediately knew I would schedule a session with her.
I saw her several times during the next couple of years and always found the readings she gave helpful to my spiritual growth. During one of those sessions, the challenges I have always faced with anxiety surfaced. I told her that I had come to believe that every time I successfully worked through my anxiety, I was not only helping myself but I was also helping those who came before me as well as my children and their children.
Today, I would add that any growth in awareness any of us achieve is growth for all of creation. It is evolutionary.
In one session with her, I was given a tremendous gift. She had called on my ancestors at my request and she saw a group of women—many of them bent over and appearing crippled by anxiety. I felt an extremely loving energy as she shared that they were all willing and all wanting to help me and support me on my spiritual pilgrimage. I sensed I gave them hope. Her description of them comes to me often and I know their willingness, their loving energy, has strengthened me.
As a child, my religious tradition had taught me to call on the “communion of saints.” Sadly, the same religious tradition has attempted to control who attains sainthood and who does not through a process called canonization. I have no need for that process. I call on those struggling women who did their very best to grow in awareness and who wish for me to grow in awareness. I, also, call on the many mentors who have enriched my life but have passed on. They continue to support me through the wisdom they brought into my life.
There is a fine line between the seen and the unseen. I choose to erase it and embrace them all.
Your line about our efforts helping those who came before as well as those who come after reminded me of a quotation from Go Slowly, Breathe and Smile, a beautiful collection of sayings by Thich Nhat Hanh illustrated by Rashani Rea.
“We may think we cannot return to the past to correct mistakes we have made. But the past has created the present, and if we practice mindfulness in the present, we naturally are in contact with the past. Our suffering and happiness are closely linked to the suffering and happiness of our ancestors. If we can transform ourselves, we can also transform them.”
Barb C, Thanks for taking time to share Thich Nhat Hahn’s quote. It rings true for me. I’ve copied it into my 2023 journal.
Good Morning Carol, What beautiful words you have given us today. Your thoughts and beliefs are so very inspiring. Thank you for sharing this- We can all learn through others. Have a wonderful day. Thank you!
I am blown away of the magnitude. We are watching a program with Morgan Freeman on the universe. To think that the molecules from millions of years ago still exist is beyond my compression but not my awe and wonder.
Yram, Yes, the energy that initiated the big bang is the same energy that is in us and around us today. It just changes in form. For me, the willingness to evolve is the key to everything.
More gratitude – thank you for paving the way!
The joys and sorrows of my ancestors. An awareness of generations that bore and fended for their children. The only thing that I can think of that continues on past the present is the preceding and following DNA strands we share with our ancestors and children.
Joseph, I agree.
This morning as I sit outside with my coffee before going to work, I am thankful for the trees here surrounding the small parking lot behind my house: trees that were left to grow long before I moved here. They now give us shade and house birds and insects. On windy days I hear them rustling. I don’t have a backyard, but these city trees which were probably weeds were left to grow. I am constantly grateful and delighted in their presence.
Besides gratitude, I am filled with admiration for the courage it must have required to leave the only homes they’d known, travel across an ocean to a place they’d never seen and begin a new life. I hope I have one-tenth of their grit.
Feelings of being profoundly blessed.
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