Days like this seem doubly hard. My brain is recovering from trying a new supplement -- one that didn't help my brain chemistry. So I'm here tucked into my "hobbit hole" sanctuary, hearing the distant joyous giggles and trompings of our lassies and my wife in their work to help the Christ Child and Saint Nick prepare for Christ's Mass.
Times like this weigh heavy. The burden leads to feeling sorry for myself. And that's when I remember the gift of prayer -- the prayer of thanksgiving. Take a deep breath. In. Hold. Out. Keep breathing deep and slow. Think of three things that are gifts in my life, right now. It almost seems too easily done. I hear three of them jingling through to my sanctuary. The tremendous gifts they give of loving and caring for me, despite all my short-comings. Thinking of three triggers a cascade of other blessings. Once I reach three, there is a plethora. Our home, our friends, our faith community, all the help people give us, our wee town, trails right out our front door, a rich abundance of food, a multitude of recent "baby steps" of progress...
Thank you God, for the rich abundance you give me. Help me use that abundance to help build the manger into which you are born to dwell among us -- Emmanuel.
The simple act of giving thanks transforms my fundamental attitude. Yes, the road is the same, long hard one, but somehow it is easier, richer, and smoother for keeping my eyes on the gifts rather than dwelling on the pain.
Merry and blessed Advent!