Stewards of Gratitude

MMS112816Happy Thanksgiving, Lion’s Den Subscribers! And a very happy one it is for me. As I write this, Tom and I are driving the final two hours from Sacramento up the mountain to our cabin tucked deep within the beautiful, rugged Sierra Range to celebrate a rustic, alpine Thanksgiving weekend with family and friends. It’s the first time we’ve spent any time up here in the winter months so it’s a bit of a grand experiment. With temps well below freezing at night and a light snow in the forecast later in the weekend, I suspect I’ll be extremely grateful for the foresight to load up on electric blankets, portable heaters, and firewood by the hearth before we left this summer.

It’s chilly this morning but crisp, clear, and sunny without a breath of wind or a cloud in the sky. We can see the snow covered peaks in the distance growing ever closer as we drive and for the very first time this year, I’m finally in the spirit. Every year I worry that I don’t feel festive and wonder if this might be the year that I lose my sense of wonder and enchantment all together. Every year I hold my breath for the warm, familiar feeling to stop toying with me and suddenly descend, settling down for a long winter’s nap deep within my heart. It usually finds me a couple days after my last big Fall trip and this year was no exception. As I switch to the holiday playlist on my iPod, it feels like a dear friend’s voice you haven’t heard in far too long.

Thanksgiving gives us all a moment to remember all that we have to be thankful for and I am certainly no exception. However, today as I drive I had a deepening in my acknowledgement and understanding of that concept. It occurred to me that not only do I have much to be thankful for such as my loving husband; healthy children; a lovely home; satisfying work; wonderful parents and extended family; a large, boisterous, adorable set of inherited grandchildren; and more precious friends and colleagues than I can count… but also, I have somehow been granted an amazing, miraculous grace.

The grace I speak of is the mysterious reason why I have been plopped down on this spot on the planet at this time in history with all of these gifts, resources, and pleasures. Why me? Why do I get to live this life? For some unknowable reason, I didn’t wake up today in a refugee camp far from my home only to look into the hungry eyes of my child for whom I have no answers. I didn’t wake up lonely or sick. I’m not imprisoned, enslaved, or enduring any kind of abuse. I won’t have to take up a weapon today and be forced to do anything that I don’t want to do.

I, for some wholly undeserving reason, will eat my fill and be toasty warm and dry, surrounded by love, acceptance, and good cheer. My eyes will behold beauty everywhere I look, my ears will hear words of love, gorgeous music, and the laughter of friends. My lips will taste savory, healthy foods and drink fine wine and cool, clean water. I will warm my hands and feet by a crackling fire and smell the scent of pines and cinnamon buns in the oven. My mind will know absolute freedom in this democracy in which I live; my heart will know total contentment, and my soul, a deep peace. But, why me?

It’s an unanswerable question… for me and for you. But still, we can know the mystery. We can accept the gift and make the decision to do it justice. Today, I feel compelled to make sure that I am worthy of it. That I give more generously than before. That I love more openly. That I forgive more quickly. That I become the example of what is possible for all. That I reach out farther to pull someone up and into this level of living.

Let us all make the promise and dedicate ourselves to be worthy of this miraculous gift of abundance and prosperity. To give and love and live in a way that would make sure that whatever or whomever bequeathed it to us would never regret that decision. Let us be good stewards of this gift and of our gratitude.

Tom and I, Kelly and Peggy, and all the extended team here at the Lion’s Den wish you and yours a joyful, tender and utterly delightful holiday season.

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