Gratitude, and Shabbat Shalom #2

Hello dear friends,

Goodness gracious it’s been awhile!!  I can’t even begin to describe the dozens of blog posts that I have wanted to write as ideas and inspiration have come to my mind these past several months.  Obviously there’s been a lot going on in my life this winter and spring, and I haven’t been very focused on writing (not on the blog, at least).  But, I’m trying to live more “in the moment” (Carpe momento as one of my beloved hospice patients used to say…).  So I’m not going to feel guilty or sad about not having captured those moments in a more timely manner.  I will just say that life is great.  I love my life, I am so blessed, and I am so grateful to God for bringing so much goodness to me.  My home, my relationships, my work, and my life are all filled with joy and love.  All is full of love, as Ben Gibbard sings.

The winter was great.  El Nino delivered tons of snow, as hoped, and I skied as much as possible from January through March.  My Seattle “grandfather,” Jan, encouraged me to “just go skiing” as I continue my healing journey.  So that’s what I did.  And I have to say, I really improved a lot.  Grandparents are so wise…  And, being that he’s from Norway, I shouldn’t have been surprised that he would know the healing power of skiing…

The spring has been lovely too.  My bulbs worked their magic and appeared gloriously right at Easter time.  Tulips and daffodils and hyacinths galore–the front yard smelled so good and looked so beautiful.  I had friends over again for Easter dinner too, in spite of the fact that I was laid up in bed all of Holy Week with the dreaded Influenza B.  (Oy, that was a doozy.)  But fortunately my energy was back enough to enjoy all the services from Maundy Thursday to Good Friday, from Easter Vigil to Easter Sunday, at both my Episcopal and Presbyterian churches.

I’ve had lots of fun with girlfriends and dear ones in my life this spring, and am really looking forward to summer.  But again, staying in the present moment……….  The spring indeed is a time of rebirth–a time when the hopes that we planted in the darkness of winter come bursting out of the earth with revitalized life, energy, and beauty.

So, given that I’ve been enjoy a satisfying and abundant sense of fullness for these past months, I’m also grateful that today I had the discipline to just allow myself to rest.  Most of the past 8 nights I was up really late and didn’t get enough sleep.  So today was truly a Sabbath–a day of rest with no other agenda but to be reminded of the gift that it is to have a full life, but also the gift that it is to lie down and rest.  Often when I lead funeral services, I preach on Psalm 23.  I emphasize the verse, “He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul…”  That is the purpose of Sabbath, I believe.  To lie down; be led into and among a place of peace and beauty; and to have one’s soul restored.  It all serves a purpose of filling us back up, refueling us to fulfill the work that lay before us each week.

In my previous piece called “Shabbat Shalom” (from practically the same weekend a year ago–May 19, 2015–hard to believe it’s already been a year…), I shared my desire to one day host Sabbath dinners with friends on Friday nights to usher in this holy day.  I hope to still do that eventually.  So last weekend I spent time watching the YouTube video below to learn the Hebrew prayers that are traditionally offered at sundown on Friday night.  The  Episcopal  communion prayers are adapted from the second and third blessings:

Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation. 

Through your goodness we have this bread—wheat of the field and work of human hands.

And this wine—fruit of the vine and work of human hands. 

Let these become our spiritual gifts. 

Those lines are my favorite parts of the eucharistic liturgy.  As I took my evening walk around my park tonight, I just sang them over and over, reminded of how good God is and how abundantly God has blessed my life.

Here is another link to the Reform Judaism site where you can read the prayers transliterated and also hear them recited:

I hope that you have a sense of blessing and abundance in your life, and that you take time to regularly give thanks to God for being such a generously loving God.  And I also hope that you take time to observe the Sabbath–to lay down, to feel a sense of peace and beauty, and to be restored–body and soul.

I’m going on my writing retreat next weekend, and then a few weeks after that will be at my writing conference in Princeton.  So hopefully it won’t be four months before I post again……  :/

Thank you always for reading.

Peace be with you.

Shabbat shalom.



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