Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Road Ahead

When Wendell Berry wrote "Jayber Crow,"  he described Jayber as a man with more memory than future.  Retirement has a way of bringing a person to such a place.  The road going to looking back is much longer than the road to looking ahead.  But, being older does not just bring one to the down side of the hill.  Some say there is some wisdom which comes with living longer.  I remember one wise older man who told me when I was still in my middle year, "When you get to be my age and you bend over to tie your shoes, you always check to see if there is anything else which needs doing while you're down there."  I remember his wisdom often now that the middle years are part of my memory.
But, as the years race on by, I have also discovered a deeper awareness of gratitude.  The days seem to be filled with things which have been taken for granted, but are now reasons for thanksgiving.  Simple things like putting two feet on the floor and walking, or sitting down to a table filled with more food than I need, or spending time with people you love are just a few of things which come to mind on this day of thanksgiving.  Many of us know that being thankful is not the spontaneous response we make to all the things going on around us.  The Apostle Paul seemed to have learned how to be thankful in any and all circumstances, but most of us stop a bit short of such a mark.
Yet, it is one of those things worthy of our best effort.  It is one of those things for which we should even pray.  If we are not quite at the point of being able to live with gratitude in all our circumstances, maybe a prayerful plea asking God to bless us with such a gift is a good starting point for change.  Those who live without gratitude end up getting robbed of everything except worry and dissatisfaction with life.  Those who face life with a grateful heart find and experience a peace which brings forth a deep flowing sense of contentment that is not troubled by the whatevers of life.

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