St. Eugene's parish held a family formation gathering last night and all were invited to join. So I went, I thought this would be another good way to get to know folk and prepare for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. There was a wonderful cross section of the parish present to celebrate "Gratitude". The youth group served chili and hotdogs and families brought desserts, the energy (noise) around the room was a welcome change from the quiet of my office and the library where I do all my reading. After supper, the kiddos and teens joined different classes to learn about gratitude and the adults heard a speaker from the diocese.
Jennifer Christ talked about cultivating a spirit of gratitude in our lives. I thought I would share the ideas I liked best from the presentation. Mind you, these are my 'translations' of her ideas.
- "Thankyou" is the recognition of the exchange of life and love we share with another.
- Gratitude is an orientation toward life, we need to actively cultivate gratitude.
- Disappointments are tied to our own expectations.
- Gratitude rejoices in the mystery of the gifts that have been given to you by God.
- If we are aware of God's constant gift to us, pain and suffering can lead to a deeper joy and gratitude.
- Do not deny suffering, but place it in light of the blessings that balance it.
- Our attitude is a light that will reveal that which we choose to see. Do you see with the light of gratitude?
It was good to visit with new folk and meet more people of the parish. The table I joined had a good sense of humor and told some wonderful stories about being grateful in their lives. When Mrs. Christ had us close with prayer, the good humor was especially helpful. She tried to lead a whole church basement of kids, parents, and grandparents in Tai-Chi movement as prayer...at 8 o'clock at night. I'll give her this, she was persistant! The 'quiet' of the movement was punctuated with the dashing about of kiddos, laughter from various tables (mine too, but I didn't start it!), and instructions as she tried to explain all the moves and what they were called. Really, I think the laughter was a wonderful closing, but not quite what she intended.