FOOTNOTES - THANKSGIVING THOUGHTSOctober 7th, 2011
Entering a World of Gentle Possibilities
John O'Donohue reflecting deeply in his wee book "A Blessing of Solitude" reminds us that when we rediscover our childlike nature, we enter into a world of 'gentle possibility'.
As we rediscover and enter that world of gentle possibility, 'consequently we will find ourselves more frequently at that place of ease, delight and celebration'.
O'Donohue, an Irish poet, priest, philosopher, who died at a young age, encourages us to see the world, not only through a childlike nature, but through nature herself. It is our senses that help us experience the magnificent fullness of the glorious spectacle that is nature, and encourages us to play as we rediscover our childlike nature.
As a long-time long distance runner, those long runs through quiet forests, and past those full or empty fields that shout out the season feed my soul. There is something about a field of corn blowing in the summer's breeze or a recently harvested hay field where bales of hay patiently wait to be taken back to the barn. Both, in different ways help me see a world filled with gentle possibilities. Someone tilled the field, planted the seed, watched it grow, and like the hay, someone needed to come along and harvest it just at the right time.
Ah, when the sun is rising and working hard to overcome the early morning mist that has fallen over the mighty Saint John River such a majestic sight satisfies my soul making me ready for another unfolding day filled with blessings. The challenge is to recognize such blessings. And what about those moonlit nights when running as a group, the wind bone-chilling, and some folk think we're perhaps mad. Then there are those magical moonbeams that make the snow sparkle like so many millions of dancing diamonds? It is just so great to stop and play and to nourish the soul. Or who among us cannot be brought to a standstill by the great yearly show put on by the trees as they change their green dresses for those brilliant reds, bronze and gold. They are indeed a wonderful feast for the eyes and at the same time a loud call for us to get ready for 'that' old man winter is acoming - he's just around the corner.
John O'Donohue offers us the tools with which to view the world through a Celtic Spirituality, with a strong emphasis on Christian faith but also with a healthy dose of pagan perspective so as we don't get carried away with thinking we have to save the world.
Over the upcoming weekend, families will gather for a meal, a symbolic meal, a thanksgiving meal.
It is an opportunity to pause for a moment and give thanks for family, friends, for health and safety, the ability to work and leisure to rest, and for all that is beautiful in creation and in the lives of all people.
It is a time to gather to give thanks for this great country of Canada in which we are privileged to live, and for this great city with its great running trails, and for this fabulous picture province - where season after season beauty surrounds us, that no matter where you go Mother nature invites us to rediscover a world of gentle possibility. Ah, the soul satisfying experience of the long distance runner that helps us see a world of gentle possibilities.
John O'Donohue offers us a prayer that we might in turn offer before sitting down to eat our thanksgiving meal. It is a call to use our senses as we savour his delightful words that offer thanks:
As we begin this meal with grace,
Let us become aware of the memory
Carried inside the food before us:
The quiver of the seed
Awakening in the earth,
Unfolding in a trust of roots
And slender stems of growth,
On its voyage toward harvest,
The kiss of rain and surge of sun;
The innocence of animal soul
That never spoke a word,
Nourished by the earth
To become today our food;
The work of all the strangers
Whose hands prepared it,
The privilege of wealth and health
That enables us to feast and celebrate.
from "Bless the Space Between us"
a blessed and peacefilled thanksgiving
the running rev.