Gifts & Graces
Here’s my random gratitude collection of mostly small but sometimes large things that helped make May better.
Lilacs. Every spring, the blossoming lilacs bring me such joy. Their timing is unpredictable, so I have to pay attention to when the blossoms first appear and watch for them to open. The Arnold Arboretum in Boston has an annual “Lilac Sunday” and acknowledges the specialness of the lilacs by allowing picnicking on only this day! I’ve collected many lilac-scented candles, but none seem to do justice to this amazing flower. I think it’s the combination of the heady scent which permeates the surrounding area and the extravagant beauty of the flower itself (available in so many shades of purple!). At their peak, the blossoms overwhelm the shrub, causing the branches to bend with the weight of the flowers. Sadly, they don’t last long as cut flowers, but this is just one more reason to get outside and find all the lilacs in my neighborhood so I can enjoy them while they’re in bloom.
Early morning walks. I love getting out for a walk first thing in the morning. My mind is still peaceful, and I haven’t yet been consumed with checking things off my daily to-do list. I enjoy seeing the other walkers and runners and exchanging a quick wave or good morning greeting. I usually listen to an inspirational podcast while I’m walking, which lets me catch up on some of my favorites. Something about the morning light and the rhythm of walking makes this the best time for me to feel close to God and be inspired.
New sneakers. I always forget how wonderfully supportive new sneakers feel. By the time I think about getting new sneakers, my existing shoes have usually deteriorated into a bad state without me even noticing. It’s only when I put on the new sneakers that I realize how worn the old ones have become.
Iced coffee. The switch from hot to iced coffee is the signal for me that summer is here. One or two days in April may justify an iced coffee, but May is when I make the switch for real, and this is a happily anticipated summer ritual for me.
A closing prayer
Dear God, please help me pay attention to the many gifts and graces that you bring to my life. Let me gratefully acknowledge the people and things that fill my days with joys that range from small comforts to immense love. And thank you, God, for being with me each day. I am humbled and inspired by how Your Spirit works through the actions of so many people. Amen.