Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States and for many of us it has many meanings. My earliest recollections were trips to my grandmother’s home and dinner with all the cousins. Later in life it was dinner at Mom’s. Still later it was turkey, cranberry sauce, and stuffing in US Navy chow halls. Those years made made me long for the earlier ones. Eventually I got married and thanksgiving meant dinner at our home. My wife was the hostess for our extended families and our children. Grandpa Joe says grace and then we all dive in for turkey, corn, all the trimmings and pies too.
I woke up early this morning and began reading Gratefulness.org which is one of my favorite websites on the entire Internet. I started tweeting and sharing some of their links and stories about the positive effects of Gratefulness. I dozed off again for a few hours and then re-awakened around 8:30AM. to my surprise a couple of those tweets were retweeted and the circle of Gratefulness was extended to at least 2300 others and God only knows who else will retweet again. This demonstrates the power of gratitude and social networks.
Today I’m grateful to God as I understand him and to my lovely wife and children which now include our lovely daughter-in-law. They are tangible evidence of his love and abundance. I’m grateful for my co-workers who continue to inspire me each day. I’m grateful for their patient encouragement which inspired me to return to college a couple of years ago and to graduate in May 2011 from St. Bonaventure University at the top of my class. I’m grateful to my boss, Michelle, a beautiful lady who supported me through four internships and continues to lovingly mentor me. I’m grateful to all the lovely ladies, Jessica, Greta & Katie who took me on as an intern along the way. I’m grateful to my professors and fellow students who encouraged a reluctant student to find my way. I’m grateful for the many Franciscan mentors who help to animate my life each day.
I’m grateful for my Mom who never gave up on me and continues to buoy my spirit when I get blue. I’m most grateful to my wife who has truly been God’s agent in my life. She continues to provide inspiration, love and an occasional kick in the butt to keep me on course. My blessings are so many this day that I cannot count them all. I’m closing this post with one of my favorite prayers that hangs on the wall at Mt. Irenaeus
It is not you that shapes God
it is God that shapes you.
If you are the work of God
await the hand of the artist
who does all things in due season.
Offer Him your heart,
soft and tractable,
and keep the form
in which the artist has fashioned you.
Let your clay be moist,
lest you grow hard
and lose the imprint of his fingers.
– St. Irenaeus
Peace to all and Happy Thanksgiving!