Gratitude

 

 Giving thanks for abundance                                                                     is sweeter than the abundance itself                                               Should one who is absorbed with the Generous One                        Be distracted by the gift          

 Thankfulness is the soul of beneficence                               Abundance is but the husk                                                                       For thankfulness brings you to the place                                      Where the Beloved lives                                                         

Abundance yields helplessness                                         Thankfulness brings alertness                                                           Hunt for bounty with the net of gratitude

Giving thanks is a wonderful thing. When have you last been for a thanks walk? I have just returned from a beautiful walk on magical Streedagh Beach in North Sligo. I have the place to myself. The moon is almost full, it lights up the night rocks, propping up the silent sand dunes. The tide has gone out fully. I walk on the soft sand where hours earlier  deep water dominated.

The stars shine, the moon moves serenely, sea, sand, stones, sky, stars, all surrender to its magnificence.  I cannot but give thanks for this abundance, free to walk, sing, shout, cry out. I am overcome with gratitude. So appreciative of my health, that enables me to walk here, while my two daughters sit quietly in their rooms, revising and revisiting the material of recent months in preparation for Monday’s exams. My wife has gone for an overnight visit to her good friends, Oisin my 11 year old son enjoys a sleep  over in the house of family friends, a birthday gift voucher redeemed and enjoyed. He will be spoiled, and made special.

This gift to him tonight is God’s gift to me. No responsibility for others, the world continues as  people watch TV, visit friends, go for a drink, a meal, visit a sick friend, fight, feed,  follow.  I enjoy the extraordinary in the ordinary. What renders the ordinary extra ordinary surely is the gift of gratitude, time to stop, listen, feel, smell, taste, and be thankful.

I walk tonight with intention and attentiveness. My intention is to offer this time to my soul, to listen and afford it the opportunity to be heard. My attention is on how I feel, what I see, hear, smell, taste and feel. This is an adventure. I don’t know how long the walk will take, what will happen on the journey, who will I meet, from the living and the dead, truly an adventure!

Lucky, our dog, is so enjoying the freedom,the space of this moon drenched space. I become aware of my parents Vincent and Mary at my side. They walk in solidarity, support and delight in me. This is a my life.  A time to give thanks for health, family, friends, work, the Streedagh surroundings, the magnificence of a December winter moon lit night. I sing. I stop and listen. I pray. I reflect, I am grateful.

Why not take a little walk yourself soon? Let it be with gratitude. It is a rewarding companion, as it communicates joy, returning a hundred fold. Thank you for gratitude.

Three consecutive nights, Streedagh beach to myself and Lucky my dog. Tide out. Empty beach and full moon. All for free, providing peace, reassurance, calm and delight – what a joy.

 

What do you want to say to the world?


WE celebrated Christmas in Newry this year at the home of my wife’s family. So where will I go to have Mass I asked myself in the days leading up to this great feast. I decided it would be Hilltown, the parish where i grew up, the big church overlooking Clonduff football field, a place where i spent many a happy, sad, wining and losing hour.

 

As the priest began the ceremony, the church was packed to overflowing and we were so fortunate to have a seat, I asked myself the question What would I like to say to this congregation tonight? Imagine having a captive audience, so alive  alert and full of anticipation, and being entrusted with an opportunity to welcome, enthuse and inspire them.

I had no idea!  The answer came to me the next afternoon, Christmas day. I sat on a seat reserved for soccer subs overlooking an empty pitch. I had the place to myself and wanted to write in my journal, a way that I have discovered to honour my soul.

“What a deep silence as i write this, yes some distant traffic interrupts the powerful serene presence of this special day, crows announce their arrival, a tractor and farmer bring Christmas cheer to a few captive cattle in a nearby yard with a grab of silage. Clouds drift harmlessly in a light grey sky, the green fresh grass continues to thrive in the unusual warm weather and the country air offers itself as another gift to me.

 

Fields of sport deserted of participants chuckle in quiet amazement at this older human, armed with his green and white copy book, blue pen and blue overcoat. He writes with enthusiasm and delight, trying to capture in words the experience of stillness and the magic of this moment. What a welcome guest. Surely we all love encouragement and praise!!”

Now i know what i would have liked to say to the packed house, I would like you to take some quiet time today in the midst of doing, working, playing , eating, drinking , laughing, crying and fighting , take some time to stop, notice, give thanks and praise. Sounds simple I know but does demand taking your slice of alone time, however short, however where.

If you found this interesting reading , perhaps stop now, look, listen, feel, smell a little and taste the gift of now.

 

What would you like to say to a packed congregation on Christmas eve 2019? Begin now to think about that and don’t wait a year!!