Friday afternoon I went out to get a furnace air-filter. Ace Hardware’s Moorhead lot was empty. A door-sign said, “Out of an abundance of caution we are closed…”; Ace was dealing with a positive Covid-19 case, testing all their employees, and taking appropriate precautions. Later, I noticed Altony’s restaurant was empty and its name removed. Monday the Tires Plus lot was empty and re-opening in 14 days. Perhaps effects of the pandemic. Friday morning I was aware of 13 active cases (people I know or relatives of people I know). By Saturday eve that number increased to 19 cases, plus one awaiting test results. Cases, deaths, and hospitalizations have rapidly risen. Health-care workers worldwide are distressed as health-systems overload. When I read Minnesota’s daily death toll exceeded 50, one day, I felt sick to my stomach for a bit. Most are feeling the stress in one way or another. Even those who are not convinced Covid-19’s real feel the stress of its effects on the world. It is a lot to take in.
History and legend remind us “the first Thanksgiving,” came on the heels of a stressful, loss-filled year. Still, they sought to tend a spirit of gratefulness. Psalm 100 invites us to practice gratitude: “Know that the Lord is God—the Lord made us; we belong to God. Enter the Lord’s gates with thanks.” Practicing gratitude is especially vital in stress-filled times.
Rory Swenson (friend and pastor at Grace UMC – Burnsville) recently shared words from author Diana Gibbons. Her writing overflows with gratitude.
I can say nothing of God, except I saw the red flames of a cardinal against the snow this morning as I drank tea.
I can say nothing of God, except the warm smell of potato soup and the sharp tang of cheddar cheese shimmied up my nose when a friend made lunch for me.
I can say nothing of God, except two nights ago a cricket sang a funny song in my closet amidst the socks and silence.
I can say nothing of God, except stones can speak, deer can fly in my dreams; a strange child smiled at me in the supermarket, that each blade of green grass wears a locket with God’s face inside, and that on every hair of my cat’s face is written, “alleluia.”
I can say nothing of God except the rough texture of grainy bread on my tongue and the sweet liquid acid of grape in my throat are a bittersweet memory of compassion and a taste of heaven.
Every day between now and Thanksgiving, find a reason to be grateful—however small it may seem. (If you are inclined, take a moment to write down whatever brings gratitude. Perhaps start your sentence with “I can say nothing of God, except…”; Read your list on Thanksgiving). One way or another, before closing your eyes for the night, take a moment to be in God’s presence with a word of thanks. Every moment of Thanksgiving becomes strength for the journey and blessing for the soul.
“The Lord made us. We are God’s. … Enter the Lord’s gates with thanks.” (Psalm 100:3b & 4a)
May You be Well, Blessed and Grateful,