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Like a cunning lover, last week’s snowfall wooed autumn’s dismantling within the rigors of winter: Leafy branches sported white overcoats; spindly shrubs stooped in supplication; fence posts peaked with medieval turrets. A solitary cardinal flashed toward a neighbor’s woodshed, then alighted and preened like a celebrity caught within the blitz of paparazzi. From a snow mound poked the handle of a red wagon. Flurries outlined swirls of breezes that fashioned ghostly images upon the asphalt street and tousled the green muffler flapping around the snowman’s neck nearby. Only random cars moved about.

All was still: Its pregnant hush evoked an OH! The first morning of creation must have felt like that.

Such OHs burst with silence, trip breathing, balloon joy, and open onto the companioning Sacred within our depths. Yet a tinge of sadness lingers in their wake, such OHs! so fleeting and evanescent. Would that we could hold onto them. That being said, we can still watch for them and give thanks when experienced.

And this year, do watch for OHs! around Thanksgiving tables, graced with family and friends. Go beyond well-worn traditions and bring something new: a new dish, a new prayer, a new listening.

“Bidden or not bidden, God is present.”

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

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No mistake about it, Evil does stalk our land, despite the sell job by the entertainment and sports industries, by Black Friday’s shopping with funny money, and by drugs and alcohol. The imperative to feel good, the contagion of noise, the eradication of differences, the compulsion to conform—all homogenize the unthinking into robotic behaviors. Spirits droop and pull the covers over their heads and zone out.

Such scenarios, however, are not unique to our times. Moreover, there have always been oppressors wrecking havoc upon the lives of the little ones, as there have always been restorations of some kind of peace until the next upheaval. But the ISIS menace is unprecedented; its hardness of heart staggers the imagination, and in the words of the prophet Zechariah, “…they made their hearts adamant…” (7:12)

So what to do? Who do we turn to? Many of our usual sources of authority are exhausted or have lost their sense of the Sacred.

We’ve not far to look, if we are willing.

In the book of Deuteronomy we read, “…The Word is very near to you, it is in your mouth and in your heart for your observance…” (30:2) So within silence we hush our instincts and listen. Eventually the right path opens before us.

We also find in the prophet Ezekiel, “…I will remove the heart of stone from their bodies and give them a heart of flesh…” (11:20) Such is God’s response to our efforts. Thus our conversion of life continues, one day at a time.

We are grateful …

 

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“How dare you get ahead of me! I’m next! I’ve got the number to prove it!”

“I don’t like that kind of bread. Don’t you have any like the stores sell? Sliced?”

“Give me that bag! I saw it first!”

 

Voices overheard at Grace United Methodist Church’s food pantry, Tuesday morning. For the second time since being open, their shelves were emptied, and the volunteers had to close early.

 

“This year, I’d like the Heritage turkey and cranberry relish, and some of your yummy mashed potatoes. Enough for fifteen.”

“I didn’t know you did all the cooking! A great relief! Give me the works!”

“Will you recommend a choice wine to go with the dinner I ordered?”

 

Voices overheard at Whole Foods Market, Tuesday morning. The clerk smiled taking the orders. 

 

Two vignettes of hunger: one from desperation; the other from affluence. Yet such hungers reflect deeper ones, physical, spiritual, emotional, mental, gnawing at our innards, whether anguishing over food stamp cuts or marveling over Wall Street’s 16,094.83 on the Dow or stewing on any situation in between.

 

There is an indisputable Source of replenishment. We have only to ask, on our knees.

 

A very Happy Thanksgiving to you and all you hold dear in your heart.

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