Right now it feels to me like time is as fragile as the fall leaves I arrange in the little tin can labeled 365 that sits on my desk. The leaves were only tiny buds in June. Now If I handle them too roughly they crumble. I've had them here for a week and I love the way they are beginning to curl and the way the colors change as they make their inevitable journey to stardust. That's where our journey ends too. Stardust.
Three hundred and sixty five days in a year sounds like a lot of days. But this last year those calendar pages have turned too swiftly. Have we done all of the things we determined we would do in January? The news piles up more and more messages of wars and rumors of wars, more horrors of what people do to one another in the pursuit of what? More of what? Those that have nothing have nothing to bring to the fight, and are crushed by those who have everthing to the edge of the world, off the edge of the world. What can we do about any of it? Is it out of our hands, really? Donations to humanitarian causes surely will help. But is it ever enough? So much beyond any individual control, we look to each other for reassurance that there are still things in the world that are good, are kind, are helpful.
There are a lot of humanitarian networks that work to funnel water, food, medical supplies to those most in need. But so many big holes exist in those nets. Still, we do our tiny bit to keep those fragile networks in place, to strengthen them. Every contribution does matter, of course it does. I like to think that whatever we give makes the net a bit stronger, gives those who serve a bit more hope, a bit more energy, a bit more of those resources so desperately needed.
Gratitude matters. We remind ourselves of that once a year, at least. The other day I found myself sittling at my desk and feeling an overwhelming sense of calm and well-being. And I realized that the source of that feeling was the gratitude I felt towards everything I could see from where I was sitting. Even the sharpened pencil, even the mess of papers on one corner of my desk. Everything seemed special, everything seemed to be a blessing. It's hard to hang on to that feeling, and I don't expect to find it whenever I look for it. But this year I hope to take the memory of that one moment forward to our Thanksgiving celebration. I think all those little sparks of gratitude can make up some strong fibers to hold us together as families, as communities, and as a world that is working hard to find expressions of kindness everywhere. I am grateful for you, Dear Reader, and I hope you have a Thanksgiving that feeds not only your body, but your soul. May gratitude flood us all this year.