Wed, Nov 18 Gratitude Reflection

People are essential to our wellbeing. Isolation from human interactions contributes to people’s poor health: mental and physical.

At the same time, while we notice some people, we often overlook others, who are integral to our daily living. Now’s the chance to look twice. Recognize someone who regularly shows up in your life, in ways that you don’t usually realize. Cashiers, custodians, cooks, drivers, delivery people: these are just some of the people who work ‘frontline’ roles, and due to the pandemic, and have received recognition as essential workers.

Meanwhile, let us give thanks for relationships that renew and comfort us. Those folks who are beloved family and essential friends. Others who enrich our lives as teachers, coaches, mentors, coworkers, colleagues, companions, care givers, and more. Today you’re invited to actually focus on at least one these connections and their meaning for you.

While we’re giving thanks for people, we can even acknowledge difficult personalities that challenge us. Perhaps there’s a person in your life who troubles you; this person might also become — through gratitude — a teacher of sorts, offering up life lessons that they didn’t intend to share, but that you have found a way to claim as your own.

            Today, let us give thanks for people of all kinds. — Rev Gail

And now, our God, we give thanks to you and praise your glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to make this freewill offering? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. — 1 Chronicles 29:13-14

… and they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.” And all the people responded with a great shout when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. — Ezra 3:11

Then we your people, the flock of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise. Psalm 79:13

We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives. John F. Kennedy

In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices. — Elizabeth Gilbert

You know, when Nelson Mandela went to jail he was young and, you could almost say, bloodthirsty. He was head of the armed wing of the African National Congress, his party. He spent twenty-seven years in jail, and many would say, Twenty-seven years, oh, what a waste. And I think people are surprised when I say no, the twenty-seven years were necessary. They were necessary to remove the dross. The suffering in prison helped him to become more magnanimous, willing to listen to the other side. To discover that the people he regarded as his enemy, they too were human beings who had fears and expectations. And they had been molded by their society. And so without the twenty-seven years I don’t think we would have seen the Nelson Mandela with the compassion, the magnanimity, the capacity to put himself in the shoes of the other. ― Dalai Lama

Generosity does not require material abundance. When I think back on the many people who have been so generous toward me, I never think of money or “things.” Instead, I think of the way they gave me their presence, their confidence, their affirmation, support, and blessing — all gifts of “self” that any of us can give. And where does generosity come from? Perhaps from another life-giving virtue, the one called gratitude. — Parker Palmer

Meditations on anger, forgiveness & reconciliation.

“what the heart hears”
Speak my name
Meet me here
I am not your enemy
I am your teacher
I may even be your friend
Let us tell our truth together, you and I
My name is anger: I say you have been wronged
My name is shame: my story is your hidden pain
My name is fear: my story is vulnerability
My name is resentment: I say things should have been different
My name is grief
My name is depression
My name is heartache
I have many names
And many lessons
I am not your enemy
I am your teacher
(excerpt from chapter: ‘naming the hurt’ from The Book of Forgiving by Desmond and Mpho Tutu,
see also: www.humanjourney.com)


Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come. — Henry Nouwen


Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. — Buddha


Love implies anger. The man who is angered by nothing cares about nothing. — Edward Abbey


“We cannot overcome anger and hatred simply by suppressing them.  We need to actively cultivate the antidotes to hatred: patience and tolerance … When we are engaged in the practice of patience and tolerance, in reality, what is happening is you are engaged in a combat with hatred and anger.” — Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Daiai Lama from The Art of Happiness


“Actuarial File” (excerpts) by Jean Valentine
Orange peels, burned letters, the car lights shining on the grass,
everything goes somewhere—and everything we do—nothing
ever disappears. But changes …
“Everything that happens, happens once and for all. Is this true?
If so, what then?”
Yes. Your story; all of your hope; what you do, breaks. Changes.
“If so, what then?” Nothing disappears. And you do last …
Come stay here, at my place, a while.—Someday we will be able
to say, I did this thing; I did that other thing; I was that woman.
Someday, we will be able to take it in, that violence, hold it in our
hands … And the ones who come after us, maybe they can
understand us; forgive us; as we do forgive our parents, our
grandparents, moving so distantly through their lives … their
silences … And the ones we were with maybe our friendship can change, can mend …
Come stay here. Things change …
“If there is to be reconciliation, first there must be truth.”
— Timothy Tyson from Blood Done Sign My Name


“Whether victim or perpetrator, part of being human is rolling up our sleeves and taking an active part in repairing harm.” – Katy Hutchison & Ryan Aldridge from TheForgivenessProject.com


“Truth can be told in an instant, forgiveness can be offered spontaneously, but reconciliation is the work of lifetimes and generations.” — Krista Tippett from Speaking of Faith


The poet dreams of the mountain by Mary Oliver
Sometimes I grow weary of the days, with all their fits and starts.
I want to climb some old gray mountains, slowly, taking
The rest of my lifetime to do it, resting often, sleeping
Under the pines or, above them, on the unclothed rocks.
I want to see how many stars are still in the sky
That we have smothered for years now, a century at least.
I want to look back at everything, forgiving it all,
And peaceful, knowing the last thing there is to know.
All that urgency! Not what the earth is about!
How silent the trees, their poetry being of themselves only.
I want to take slow steps, and think appropriate thoughts.
In ten thousand years, maybe, a piece of the mountain will fall.

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