One such thing he said this past Wednesday, which has stuck with me and will continue to do so, was this; "I believe that gratitude is a mark of soul health." Soul health. So simple, so true. In reading back through letters and journal entries that I have written, from as far back as they take me, I have seen a few common threads, things that have always been true of who I am. I don't think it's boastful for me to say that a grateful heart has always been a constant for me. It's my mainstay. I must, must offer thanks for the riches I've been given. I must also give thanks in the more shadowy seasons of life, when nothing seems right and things just suck. Searching for the good and giving thanks for it is good exercise, a discipline which I try to re-establish in my inner life, time after time, good or bad, magnificent or just plain awful.
I lay in bed the other night, finding faces in the popcorn on my bedroom ceiling and saying (more like spewing) my prayers. I remembered, suddenly and so crisply, the sweet, whispery sound of my grandpa Norberg's voice while he said his prayers after climbing into bed each evening. One night, perhaps in his late 80's (a spring chicken!) mom, Angela and I and...well I don't remember who all was there...we all gathered in the hallway and listened as he shared with his Lord (quite out loud since he'd taken his hearing aids out) a laundry list of everything and everyone he was thankful for. "We thank you Lord for this, another day...." this was how his every prayer -- breakfast, lunch, dinner -- began. I'll never forget it. His voice has not faded from memory, nor will it. His was always a tone of thankfulness.
...and then I stumbled upon this picture I took in Philadelphia way back in 2005.
We yield unfeigned thanks and praise
For the return of seed-time and harvest
For the increase of the ground
And the gathering in of the fruits thereof
And for all other blessings
Of thy merciful providence
Bestowed upon this nation and people
The Book of Common Prayer