Thanks Be To God
The deadline is too soon. And still I sit at my desk surrounded by books, pen and writing pads. A cup of tepid tea is beside me. The notes I have made in the past couple of weeks are copious. Thoughts scribbled down as they tumbled into my fogged-filled mind remain in limbo.
Topics to ponder over? Topics of interest? Informative literature? No, none of these can release me from my writer’s block. I have spent most of the time staring into space or praying for that button of spiritual creativity to be magically (blessedly?) switched on.
Today, however, seems a little different. Sitting at my desk, I am staring out of the window as opposed to staring into space. The morning mist and chill have lifted. Sunshine streams in caressing me and warming the room.
The velvet midnight blue of the Dandenong Hills contrasts sharply with the clear icy-blue sky above. But it is the trees which grab my attention.
In this somewhat melancholy mood, I contemplate their remaining magnificent autumn colours of amber, copper, gold, dark greens and browns. It has been a long, warm autumn which I think has confused Mother Nature.
Perhaps the trees are struggling to know what they should be doing although many have already succumbed to old habits and their leaves are fluttering gracefully to the cold, dank earth below.
In contrast, the natives smile and nod sympathetically at their deciduous neighbours’ confusion as they observe them shivering in their newfound nakedness. Soon they will be forgotten and no longer needed or admired until this winter is long gone. Not writing yet, I continue to drink in the beauty and splendour of this late autumn scenario.
I am reminded of the words of Finbarr Lynch from his book, Ageing and Praying, ‘Now without the leaves of summer, the tree’s inner structure which supported the fruitfulness and summer beauty, is more evident and yields a different beauty to the beholder…’
His meaningful words help me to understand that the ‘winter beauty’ of our lives depends largely on how we have travelled during our ‘summer years.’
Time has a way of moving quickly and catching us unaware of the passing years. When we are young, we never imagine that growing old will happen to us. Old age seemed so far off. The reality is that growing old happens to everyone!
For some reason, my mind is now wandering back to my childhood. I am at school and it is Friday afternoon. Soon, the bell will be ringing but before it does, Miss Foley, our English teacher, will begin her usual ritual. Standing in front of us, her beaming smile revealing her crooked teeth, Miss Foley begins: “Well children, who would like to start today?”
And so, we each in turn have to name something for which we are thankful. I remember giggling with embarrassment when it came to my turn and mumbling something, anything quickly, so Miss Foley would move on to the next child.
When we had all said our piece, Miss Foley would quieten us down. Her ritual never varied. “I am thankful for my eyes to see, my ears to hear. I am thankful for my legs to walk, my mind to think and my hands to touch…” Through this litany of gratitude, we children would snigger and wriggle in our seats all convinced that our dear teacher must be a bit crazy.
It is only in these latter years of my life that I am now able to understand and appreciate only too well Miss Foley’s words of wisdom. I realize that it is now my turn to say how thankful I am for all the gifts with which I have been blessed throughout my life.
The gift of sight to be able to notice what is going on around me, not missing a moment of what is happening. Indeed, the gift of all my senses. How else could I ever have enjoyed the love of my family, friends, books, music, and all the other wonderful blessings I have experienced?
But of all the gifts I have received, the most precious is the gift of my faith. Because without the gift of faith, I would not be able to believe in God. The God who is the creator of this beautiful universe. And if I did not believe in God, then I would have no-one to thank for all the blessings in own life, the life of my loved ones, and the miracle of His creation.
Sometimes, I wonder about all those people who profess not to believe in God or a Higher Power. Who do they thank for all the good things in their lives? A beautiful sunset, a baby’s first smile, a recovery from some adversity? Being grateful for every moment of our day is just as important as breathing, eating and sleeping.
Thankfully, as I am growing older, I am learning, finally, that the seasons of our lives, so similar to those of nature, do not always follow in the same order. It may now be the ‘autumn’ season’ of my life in the physical sense but I know deep in my heart that I can continue to give thanks for the seasons yet to come.