• Tag Archives gratitude
  • Charred meat, cooked on propane, outside

    Lughnasa                                                          Waning Honey Extraction Moon

    The herd tramped out to Roseville, to Warren’s second house, a gift to be that never found its receiver.  A broad curve of land on a first ring suburban street holds this late 40’s, early 50’s rambler with dark wood, scrolled book cases, formica kitchen counters and an outdoor fireplace built into a concrete patio.  It was someone’s dream, back in the long ago, the second millennium, after the second Great War when we all wanted to huddle down, have kids, read the newspaper and go to church.

    This evening it housed this a congregation of graying, even whitening men, who met to discuss at Warren’s call, gratitude.  Who did we feel grateful for in our lives?  Who reached out to us and saw something special in us, something we may not have seen in ourselves?  Who touched us?  Three wrote letters to dead men:  a seminary father figure, a partner in a business, a great-grandfather of many gifts.  One wrote to or about his father, another to his brother.  Two letters were written to former bosses.

    We had charred meat, cooked on propane outside, as men’s dinners must be on quiet summer evenings when the weather still has warmth.  We ate together, swapped stories of Maine,  Saudi Arabia, grandkids and grandfatherliness.

    After a moment they came up to the counter and said, ‘We go around the country walking into places and visualizing people naked.”  How ’bout that?

    He also recalled a George Carlin sketch in which Carlin noted that he was not an atheist, nor an agnostic.  Instead, he said, I think I’m an acrostic.  We all agreed to put that down as our religious preference next time we were asked.

    This was the fourth Woolly session that Mark has attended, perhaps the last one for a good while.  He seemed glad to be there and I was glad he had a chance to see this group of adult men who love each other.  Our congregation.

  • And Again, Thank You

    “If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” – Meister Eckhart

    Here is a Zen koan on thankfulness:

    The Giver Should Be Thankful

    While Seisetsu was the master of Engaku in Kamakura he required larger quarters, since those in which he was teaching were overcrowded. Umezu Seibei, a merchant of Edo, decided to donate five hundred pieces of gold called ryo toward the construction of a more commodious school. This money he brought to the teacher.

    Seisetsu said: “All right. I will take it.”

    Umezu gave Seisetsu the sack of gold, but he was dissatisfied with the attitude of the teacher. One might live a whole year on three ryo, and the merchant had not even been thanked for five hundred.

    “In that sack are five hundred ryo,” hinted Umezu.

    “You told me that before,” replied Seisetsu.

    “Even if I am a wealthy merchant, five hundred ryo is a lot of money,” said Umezu.

    “Do you want me to thank you for it?” asked Seisetsu.

    “You ought to,” replied Uzemu.

    Why should I?” inquired Seisetsu. “The giver should be thankful.”

  • The Ancient Trail of Gratitude

    quick note:  Boy, the pace of life accelerated with the coming of autumn.  This last week it felt like I’d gone back to full-time employment.  I’m glad the week-end is here.

    Mine is a small life, no encyclopedia entries or feistschrifts, no monuments.  Ordinary.  I’ve been lucky so far.  The major stumbles I made got turned around by mid-life.  Kate came along and made the journey forward companionable.  There are few friends, but good ones.  The things I do, I love.  Dig.  Plant.  Harvest.  Write.  Preach.  Tour.  Spend time with the kids and their kids.  Read.

    Thanksgiving is not a one-day holiday, but, rather, a life way, the ancient trail of gratitude.