My church has claimed the four weeks before Advent as a Season of Thanksgiving. With that said, I had a very small encounter today that left me with a feeling of absolute gratitude. I visited my five year old son at school and was overwhelmed by the fact that he said that I made his day. I knew at that moment that I was very blessed. I made my son’s day by showing up and being present in his life.
When I taught in the public school system, one of the most satisfying parts of my job occurred when I was visited by old students. More often than not, the conversation always came back to the importance of the choir program in their lives and how being a part of such a group made a difference. There was nothing greater than to hear that, for a moment in their lives, the worries of the day were replaced with a willingness to surrender to the act of creating something that was bigger than who they were as individual people. That was the joy of teaching.
I call the experiences of my former students “encounters with the sacred.” There is an incredible sense of belonging to a community where one is welcomed and encouraged to share talents and ideas that will further the development of the self. Awareness of the soul comes in the state of practicing the idea of love. That is our common bond that crosses rivers of hate and shame. Our love for each other invites us to be more than who we are. We are motivated to grow and live beyond our wildest dreams.
The situation with my son made me start to wonder about all of the other “little” things I could do to share in an attitude of gratitude. In all honesty, the most important thing that we all crave is the acknowledgement that our lives matter. It is the love for each other that will carry on long after we leave this planet. The concept of love is so important that Jesus himself spoke of it as the greatest of commandments.
I appreciated the hug that I received and the absolute joy that “MacDonald the Younger” felt as I visited his class. These will be memories that I will remember many years from now. How blessed we are as humans to possess a soul which thrives and celebrates the legacy that we leave with each other. We are hotwired for relationships. Love is in the fabric of who we are.
In the spirit of whose we are, let us continue the journey of thanksgiving. The psalmist even said that “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall always be on my lips” (Ps. 34:1 NRSV). Let us be ever mindful of the faithfulness of our God. It is within God’s continuing acts of love that I know that I am so much more than I ever thought that I would be. The good news is that I am not everything that I will be.