Monday, February 24, 2020

A GRATEFUL HEART 

            An old church hymn asks for “a grateful heart that loves and blesses all”, and this morning I’m giving some thought to the word “all”. The hymn doesn’t say “blesses some”, or “blesses the good things that happen”, or “blesses people who act the way I think they should act”. It says “all”, as in everything that happens, everything that comes my way – the pleasant and the unpleasant, the advantageous and the seemingly useless, the triumphs and the trouncings. The hymn suggests that every aspect of my life should  somehow be honored. I should, in some way or other, bless everything that happens. As Shakespeare reminds us, blessings (he uses the word “mercy”)  should not be “strained”, but should be shared the way “the gentle rain of heaven” falls upon the earth — indiscriminately, unconditionally, thoroughly. Rain falls on the bad and the beautiful, and so should my gratitude.

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Today, I discovered two wonderful truths: it’s pretty easy to wash our windows, and sitting in a cemetery overlooking a river (especially when it’s five minutes from our house) can be a serious blessing.

It occurred to me this morning, like a butterfly of a thought floating along, that maybe I should wash the windows in the sunroom. So, consenting to the butterfly, I found the washing solution and some rags, and proceeded to wash windows for about 30 minutes. That’s all it took – a few minutes of swishing and swashing and spraying and wiping, and shazam! the windows were clean and clear and the outdoors never looked better.

Later, when our handyman was doing some work in several rooms of the house, I drove out to go to the library for some quiet reading, but swung in to Elm Grove Cemetery, just a few blocks from the house, and found precisely the peace and stillness I was seeking. I drove quietly along the dirt paths and found several places to park in the shade and see views of the cemetery’s stately trees, the sparkling Mystic River, and the low hills beyond. I sat there in the car for well over an hour, with windows open on this almost balmy day, just reading, writing, thinking, and smiling.

Below … two views from the car, and a selfie while sitting on a bench …

M

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