Gratitude

The virtue this week is one that, in times past, I had an easy time relating to.  It’s easy to take a look at the things around you that you can be grateful for, the blessings in your life that make living worthwhile.

There’s been a succession of hiccups in my life as of late, some of which have made it clear that there are going to be difficult times ahead.  It’s going to mean making sacrifices in ways I hadn’t expected having to experience.  And yet, if I take a look at what I have, especially in light of these hiccups, I have to ask myself at what point would I not be grateful?

If I lost most of what I owned, what would I be grateful for?

If I lost my health, and got sick, what would I be grateful for?

If I lost the important people in my life, what would I be grateful for?

I’m drawn to Job, the story about the man who had everything, wealth beyond measure, family beyond measure, he was just a nice guy with a really good life around him.  And then one day, he lost it all.  Health, money, family…everything.

That is, except for his wife.  Lot’s wife didn’t leave him, or die.  She got to stick around.  And the book of Job is quiet as to what his wife did, how she behaved, how she felt watching this man who had been her rock suddenly melt down before her eyes.  Here he sits on the ground, with a shard of pottery, scrapping scabs off his skin–the man who had been the bread winner, so successful in everything that he did that she had no doubt lived a very comfortable existence.

Did she feel for him?  Did she cry for him?  Did she get angry, frustrated?  What did she do?

I’m grateful that I am able to experience my life in new and sometimes very challenging ways.  I’m grateful that, although I won’t be able to do some of the things in the next six months I’d hoped to have been able to do, that I’ve got a supporting and loving relationship, a family that’s for the most part pretty cool (every family has issues, right?); I’ve got a job, which a lot of people these days don’t have, and struggle to get, and not just a job but a job where people actually get excited because I’m coming to clean for them.

And I’ve got my prayer life.  I know some people have a hard time getting it, but the time that I take to read the Divine Office, or practice Lectio Divina, or Centering Prayer, these times are like going to a gym and building up strength of mind so I don’t go off the rails.

Which brings me to being grateful for having peace in my mind–even though some days it feels rocky–I’ve never returned to that place where the anxiety and the fear was able to control the way it used to.

So I’m going to miss out on a family reunion, I’m probably going to miss out on a trip to Toronto;  I’ll get to spend time in Regina with my guy at our local Pride, I’ll get to be able to spend time in my garden, I’ll be able to spend time with my dog.

In the middle of winter, I posted a comment about the horrible winter storm we got, where the snow was almost three feet deep and the cars in the roads just weren’t moving.  My spiritual director responded to my complaint with a line from a canticle in the Divine Office, a suitable conclusion to this week’s virtue:

Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord;
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
Angels of the Lord, bless the Lord;
You heavens, bless the Lord;
All you waters above the heavens, bless the Lord.
All you hosts of the Lord; bless the Lord.
Sun and moon, bless the Lord;
Stars of heaven, bless the Lord.
Every shower and dew, bless the Lord;
All you winds, bless the Lord.
Fire and heat, bless the Lord;
Cold and chill, bless the Lord.
Dew and rain, bless the Lord;
Frost and cold, bless the Lord.
Ice and snow, bless the Lord;
Nights and days, bless the Lord.
Light and darkness bless the Lord;
Lightning and clouds, bless the Lord.
Let the earth bless the Lord;
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
Mountains and hills, bless the Lord
Everything growing from the earth, bless the Lord.
You springs, bless the Lord;
Seas and rivers, bless the Lord.
You dolphins and all water creatures, bless the Lord;
All you birds of the air, bless the Lord.
All you beasts, wild and tame, bless the Lord;
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
You sons of men, bless the Lord;
O Israel, bless the Lord.
Priests of the Lord, bless the Lord;
Servants of the Lord, bless the Lord.
Spirits and souls of the just, bless the Lord;
Holy men of humble heart, bless the Lord.
Ananias, Azarias, Misael, bless the Lord;
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
Let us bless the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost;
Let us praise and exalt God above all forever.
Blessed are you in the firmament of heaven;
Praiseworthy and glorious forever.

-The Canticle of the Three Young Men


*This is part of a series of a year long journey through the book, “Franciscan Virtues Through the Year“. If you’d like more information on Old/Independent Catholicism, or would like more information on my denomination, or feel called to a vocation, click here!

Gratitude

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