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My Chicago Home
How can we best live as modern, active contemplatives where prairie meets city?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Giving Thanks In All Circumstances

Photo by Bartholomew
I'm still savoring earth tones as these final autumn days slip by. I refuse to hurtle too swiftly into Christmas themes when Advent hasn't even begun. I remember in grade school, Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons were distinct. I loved making pilgrim hats and Indian headdresses and reenacting the first Thanksgiving dinner. Is that too politically incorrect to happen today? We would make construction paper cards for our parents and draw up gratitude lists. Counting our blessings is never out of season, but seems especially natural as Thanksgiving approaches. A reader just sent me this comment on my post Fifty-nine Things Mom and Dad Did Right
Honoring my parents made for
a great post! Thanks, Mom &

Thank you for demonstrating obedience to God's command to 'Give Thanks in All Circumstances'. I think it is impossible to think of the things we are thankful for, and at the very same moment be discontent. So, to be content, be thankful!
I would like to say what I am thankful to my parents for: My father and mother would have heated arguments (behind closed doors but the sound would give them away). BUT, my father would always apologize and offer the first step to reconciliation to my mother in front of us. It was a first hand example and he took a risk to do so....she could have rejected it. For my mother, she was not perfect, of course, but offered so many phrases to live by that have become part of my being: "If at first you don't succeed...try, try again". "Do your best, that is all you can do". 
Thank you Marianna for the essay and encouragement to give thanks!"
Thank you, Dear Reader, for your parents and such a great reflection! I posted that original story just a year ago at Thanksgiving time, and I asked others to share what their parents did right. So I'll extend that invitation again. If you would like to honor your parents in a special way, go to my story and leave a comment, telling us how your parents have blessed you through life:  "Fifty-Nine Things" By the way, this story is my second most popular post of all time! So, many Thanksgiving blessings, from my house to yours. I'll close with a poem many consider to be the finest in the English language. My husband shared it with me in an email a few weeks ago. Now that's technology use at its best! :)

To Autumn
by John Keats

SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers;
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thous watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too, --
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
Miniature of John Keats by
Joesph Severn, 1819

The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;

And gathering swallows twitter in the skies