I reread this note i wrote 6 years ago and thought it still relevant for today. So i dusted it off and am resurfacing it. -d
This time last year? (Written on Thanksgiving 2001)
How many of us ever dreamed that we would look back one short year and think, “those were the good times, times of innocents, prosperity, chaos, and ‘focus on what was important’ to us.”
Three generations who truly believing that our world would always be what we had experienced since birth: unlimited possibilities, wealth with no limits, gold mines of opportunity in every direction, focus on ourselves, our families, our success.
Favor was ours whether we believed it was because of our own drive, our Gods love, our family’s support. “Why?” didn’t matter, we had it, expected it, counted our blessings because it just “was.”
And then, as quickly as the seasons change, as when you think that summer will last forever even though you know it has to end, it does, and we are surprised. Surprised?! Surprised when a loved one dies. Embarrassed when a political race is watched by the world and our reputation as a nation is threatened yet again. In disbelief when our economy declines. Shocked when the gold mine has no more magic/fools gold to be found. Horrified when our nations soil, our nations people, are destroyed by those that have hated us passionately for so long because of all that we stand for, all that we have done. Amazed when a President whom many felt was disconnected from the people shows up, grows up, and becomes a leader. Humbled when we look to strangers for comfort and realize that they are not that different from ourselves.
We are a collage of people brought together by a series of devastating events and forced to re-evaluate who we are, what we stand for, what we believe, and what is important. The “us” that use to include a select few, now encompasses a nation. Our freedom is threatened, our families have been torn apart and yet we find Hope - still.
And so on this morning of Thanksgiving I sit quietly reflecting on the year. We, as a nation gather with our families, some of us with a new definition of what creates family. We are going to gather in a few hours with this family and we want to be Thankful. We are Thankful, through it all, we realized so much this year to be thankful for.
We are no longer a nation of seekers for what we may never obtain but of doers for what is important today.
We no longer expect that the world will be what it was but we are grateful for what it is today ??? not yesterday, not tomorrow, but today.
The fool’s gold dust has been cleared from our eyes and we now see reality, and it is OK.
The future may be uncertain, but we are no longer fooled into thinking that it was ever certain.
The definition of “our” and “us” has changed, there is a focus outside of our immediate selves.
The loss of the people will never be forgotten, it may never even be behind us, but we will learn to hold it dearly beside us, not to hold us back.
As I write I have such gratitude for all that has occurred, not because it was all good. God knows that it wasn’t. But because I feel I have been woken up from a trance like state and forced to truly see the world, not just my small part of it, and begin to participate in it without blinders or rose colored glasses. To learn to serve others, not just myself.
As many of you know, my father lived his life by the “Prayer of St. Francis” that is so simply stated but yet so complex to execute on. If I can learn to live a fraction of this prayer, that will be a miraculous gift given to me by my God, and yet I must always remember that gifts can only be given if we are willing to receive them. And so, my constant challenge is to always be willing to receive by constantly giving of myself.
And with this reflection, I hope to give to you my love, gratitude and prayers for all of the support you have given me, because without all of you I would not be exactly who I am today.
Many generations expectations of life have been redefined in this year, and this one small individual has seen it as a year of brokenness yes ??? but more importantly as a year of healing.
God bless you all.
The Prayer of St. Francis
A Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi
Lord, make an instrument of your peace.
When there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master; Grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.