Gratitude is the theme of the day. Today I am thankful for -
1. My two healthy, strong, smart, fun, and funny children outside playing. They make up games. They laugh. They run and jump and play basketball. They play with their tennis rackets and footballs and whatever else they dig out of the garage storage bins. They are a joy to know, to love, to teach, and the spend time with.
2. The many friends who have written and called to welcome me back from my time in Spain. It always amazes and alarms me that so many people notice when I am absent from the routines of my life. As Antonio said, my solitude is not solitary; people notice. People care. People want to know where I am and how I am doing. Thanks to all of you who love me so much. I feel profoundly unworthy.
3. The opportunity to speak to Leticia today. She said that her husband, Eduardo, isn't feeling well again. (Get well soon, EE; your family needs you to be strong and healthy.) She said that little Alvarito is doing well, that they will be going to a doctor next week to get information and advice as the course of surgery he should undertake. I also spoke to Leti's Mom who is also a dear friend and generous stepmother to me when I am in Spain. I will pray for them all as they seek guidance on Alvaro's future procedures.
4. The chance to speak to Antonio as well. He was preparing to teach a class on prayer this evening. I pray that their class on prayer goes well and that they will find themselve closer to The Heavenly Father this night than ever before.
5. The routines of life. I love to travel. I love to explore new places. But sometimes home, sweet home, with its stained carpets and fallen cabinet doors (that's a mystery we have yet to solve) are more than enough for any given day.
6. The fact that no one got hurt when the cabinet door fell last week. That same heavy, solid wooden door has fallen four times. Without warning, down it comes. It is above the kitchen counter adjacent to the sink, and the first time it fell, it actually cracked the counter. I must make a very regular habit of checking the hinges. I'm not exactly sure what to do to solve the problem; we've had one hinge replaced, and that is the one that failed this time. Yikes! In any case, I am glad to no one has been hurt in any of the four collapses.
7. The chance to teach a class on spiritual journaling; it began last night. Six women were in attendance. And I know of two more who are hoping to attend next week. I suspect that I talked a little too much, but it was the first session and I had a lot of groundwork to lay. I plan for us to do a lot more writing and sharing, and for me to keep my mouth shut a lot more in the upcoming class sessions. Energetic, outspoken, beautiful women - all. One down, eleven sessions to go.
8. My down comforter on these frigid nights.
9. Peppermint tea before bedtime.
10. Coffee in my new coffee cup. Memories of La Coruna and the little shop where I bought it.
11. The book Second Calling, the one that Virginia sent to me for my birthday. I finished it today. Much food for thought. Many challenges for how to find true purpose and passion in life. I read several chapters in Spain, and had one of those God-moments in the early morning hours of January 1st. I'd returned from Leticia's house where I'd toasted in the New Year and decided to read a few pages before going to sleep. The chapter I read that night related an incident that had happened in the author's life on New Year's Eve. Gotta love those moments of divine timing.
12. Yesterday, after reflecting in my journal that I want this to be a year in which I try to live fully, consciously, passionately, and joyfully, I pulled the book out again. Here's what I read on page 166:
"During this time, I learned a profound lesson about living fully in the present. If I do not invest in it fully, live mindfully, and look carefully for that day's manna, I will miss it. Living in the present requires more discipline than the to-do lists and five-year plans for the future and more awareness than making photo albums and replaying tapes of the past...
"In his book Everything Belongs, Richard Rohr makes the spiritual case for living fully and completely in the present, in what he calls 'the sacrament of the present moment.' He says, 'We cannot attain the presence of God because we're already totally in the presence of God. What's absent is awareness... There is no random act or accidental circumstance. Everything is there to teach us, to provide an opportunity or to simply witness to God's presence. In short, everything belongs.'"
What a relief it is to be reminded that everything belongs. That there is a lesson to be learned in every situation. I needn't worry about what each thing means. I do not know. I may not figure it all out. But I can and I do trust that nothing is without meaning, purpose, or intentional value in my life. The question is: Am I living it? Am I breathing it? Am I learning the lesson? Am I willing to remain open to learn the lesson at some future time if I cannot figure it out right now?
Okay, so that was more than one question. But once I start thinking out loud, the questions tend to come pretty easily.
13. Finally I am grateful for life itself.
For the ability to read, write, think, and speak.
For the wherewithal to eat well and live well.
For the means to see a doctor when I am sick - which, gratefully, is very rare.
For friends who love me and encourage me along my life's journey.
For family members who love me and then are forced to put up with me when the love runs out.
For the opportunities I have had to travel, to meet people along the way, people I have come to know, to love, and to miss when we are apart.
Thanks be to God.