Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday Five: Gratitude

The Place I Want To Get Back To

is where

in the pinewoods

in the moments between

the darkness

and first light

two deer

came walking down the hill

and when they saw me

they said to each other, okay,

this one is okay,

let's see who she is

and why she is sitting

on the ground, like that,

so quiet, as if

asleep, or in a dream,

but, anyway, harmless;

and so they came

on their slender legs

and gazed upon me

not unlike the way

I go out to the dunes and look

and look and look

into the faces of flowers;

and then one of them leaned forward

and nuzzled my hand, and what can my life

bring to me that could exceed

that brief moment?

For twenty years

I have gone every day to the same woods,

not waiting, exactly, just lingering.

Such gifts bestowed,

can't be repeated.

If you want to talk about this

come to visit. I live in the house

near the corner, which I have named


(Mary Oliver, "Thirst", Beacon Press, 2006)

For this Friday Five I invite you to offer five gratitudes you recognize in your life.

Reading: the ability and the desire to read. I didn’t really enjoy reading until I was introduced to the great British mystery writers Dorothy Sayers and Josephine Tey. And it was off to the races. I was well into my thirties by then and I have been trying to catch up ever since. While my favorite genre is still mystery, I enjoy fiction and non-fiction alike. Historical novels as well as history; theology as well as spiritual reading. And I am getting the time to read in retirement. I am thankful for a near-by public library.

Cats—I have never had a dog but I have had cats since I was small. They are indifferent companions. They can entertain themselves when I can’t pay attention to them. But they know when I am not well and attend to my needs for cuddling and care. The pair we have now do not get along very well. Bit, the kitten has become the dominant one and the 6 yr old male, Tyke is a wuss. She pounces on the old man wanting to play rough and tumble and he hisses and yowls as if he were being killed. J and I laugh at their antics. But when it is time to settle down they crawl next to us and keep us company.

Church—Ever since I was in my twenties, church has become my home. It was the place where I was known and where I knew others. It became the family that accepted me when my blood kin did not. With ordination came different responsibilities in that family but it did not change my desire to be in that family. Now that I am retired, I still look to the church, parish, diocese, national church and communion as my extended family. It is the community in which I will live and find my friends and it will be the one from which I am buried. It will be different by then, but no matter. It is my family.

My Chair—I bought this chair for my mom when she was in a nursing home. It is a small recliner that makes my knees the right height for the lap top. It is where I do all of my correspondence and write my blog. Needless to say, I spend a good bit of time in this chair. Bit likes this chair too, but it is stick her claws into and no matter how many times I squirt her with the water bottle, she comes back to claw at the upholstery.

• J. – my dearest friend. Wed. J had her final chemo treatment for breast cancer. She has done remarkably well, all things considering. She sleeps a lot and is not too enthusiastic about eating (my idea of being taken care of). She will begin radiation treatments in a few weeks, but we are hoping now her hair will start to grow. Thanks for all the prayers. Keep them up. She will need them for the next 7 years, I am told.

The Anglican Communion—normally I would have included this in Church above, but I have been a part of an Anglican Communion group on-line over the past year that has so expanded my horizons. It has also humbled me because what I thought was universal about my faith isn’t at all. It has challenged me to listen much more closely to people that I corresponded with and is giving me insight into this third form of catholicity that I profess.

Bonus: New Barbeque Grill—I finally broke down and bought a gas grill this summer. It has been so dry here that we couldn’t afford the sparks from a charcoal fire. Being a Texan, I have always poo-pooed the gas grill as an interloper into the REAL barbeque world of smoked meat that is de rigure in the life of Texans. But this summer because of the heat, the gas grill has been a real life-saver. It keeps the heat out of the kitchen and outside where it belongs! It is so easy just to turn on and grill a bit of chicken or veggies. I am especially fond of grilled tomatoes, zucchini and onions. I have also learned how to make beer-butt chicken—so easy and soooo good and moist. Last night we had fajitas. And J could eat them. We just didn’t add any hot stuff. Maybe our lives will return to normal!


Wendy said...

Reading and Grilling... ahhh, summer!

I've become especially fond of grilled tomatoes (I like making thick slices, drizzling with olive oil and adding mozzarella and basil at the last moment. I call it a "Grilled Caprese Salad", but I like mixing them with onions and zucchini, too.

Terri said...

We love our grill, but haven't made the switch to fas. Every year we think about it, but just can't. Ring ourselves to do it.

Prayers continue for J, and, you.

Joolie said...

love the tomato-zucchini idea. And I'm so with you on the mysteries, though I found Dorothy Sayers when I was a kid, she was my entree into the mysteries I've read ever since. Especially love Sara Paretsky, Elizabeth George, and Julia Spencer-Fleming.

Blessings to J. I'm three years out from my chemo. Radiation will make her tired but yes, she should be able to eat.

Sharon said...

Yum! My native Texan indoctrination led me to getting a charcoal grill last summer and I used it last summer but haven't gotten inspired enough to play with it this year. So, I get the gas grill advantage, for sure. Continued prayers for J. and for you.

Anonymous said...

Aw, this was a really nice post. In idea I would like to put in writing like this additionally - taking time and actual effort to make a very good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate alot and by no means seem to get something done.

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

a good chair... alway a necessity!
prayer for you and J.