Gifts & Graces: July 2022

Gifts & Graces

The whole world is a series of miracles, but we’re so used to them we call them ordinary things.

Hans Christian Andersen

Here’s my random gratitude collection of mostly small but sometimes large things that helped make July better. Although I didn’t intend it, it appears this post has a decided theme of friendship.

Just looking at this photo makes me want to celebrate something. Anything. Maybe just the existence of pineapples? (Photo by Pineapple Supply Co. on Pexels.com)

Small Celebrations. A friend and I deliberately decided to celebrate more small things this year. It’s surprisingly hard to remember to do this, so it’s helpful to have someone else reminding me to find reasons to celebrate. And I’ve realized that I probably love small celebrations even more than the typical big celebrations (birthdays, holidays). Perhaps it’s the novelty that causes me to fully appreciate small things more than I’m used to doing. Or the lack of expectations about what to do to celebrate. But whatever the reason, it has helped bring more joy to my life this year as I’m more conscious of looking for good things to celebrate.

Reconnecting with old friends. I recently had lunch with a friend from my high-tech working days. I knew it would be nice to see her again, but I didn’t realize how much I would enjoy it. People often come and go in our lives – and it seems that work friendships tend to fade away when you no longer regularly see each other in the environment that brought you together. So it’s a special gift to reconnect with someone and discover that you still have things to talk about and enjoy each other’s company.

Photo by Ricardo Esquivel on Pexels.com

Men Playing Softball/Basketball. I frequently drive past a softball field and outdoor basketball court, and it always makes me happy when I see a group of men my age. I’m still trying to figure out exactly why. I think it’s mostly because I have happy memories of men I worked with who always did some type of sports activities during lunch breaks. These days my social circle is more female than when I worked in high tech, and I miss having those male friends. I miss the clever, geeky humor, the practical jokes, and the good-natured insults that were the backbone of their conversations. They always treated me a bit special (since I was usually the only female in the group) but made me feel like I fit in.

Maybe we simply need now and then to look up at the silent stars and lose ourselves to be set free.

Br. David Steindl-Rast

Webb Telescope Photos. The recently released photos from the Webb telescope continue to awe. It makes me think about how connected we are to everything in the universe. We are made from earth, and the earth is made from the dust of stars. And while all the stars are far “out there” in the sky, the sky has no boundary. It reaches down right to the earth. Every breath we take is an inhale of the sky.

The photos have been everywhere on the Internet, but I particularly like this site which shows the new clarity and enhanced field of the Webb images compared to the Hubble images. You can slide the photos back and forth to compare them, and it’s stunning.

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.

8 comments

  1. Thank you for the reminder that seeing old friends can feed our souls. I will spend time today with two friends who I see once a year. I always leave these encounters fulfilled, smiling and wondering why we don’t regroup more often. But, perhaps, if I saw them more, I would appreciate them less??

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    1. I think that it’s true (sadly) that we tend to be less appreciative of the things and people who are in our daily lives. Our encounters that aren’t so “ordinary” do stand out more. Enjoy your time with old friends today!

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  2. “And I’ve realized that I probably love small celebrations even more than the typical big celebrations” – I wonder if its partly because there isn’t a crazy amount of planning and logistics involved with small celebrations… so you can immerse yourself entirely in the celebrating.

    Reminds me of the gospel reading from a recent mid-July Sunday where Jesus told Martha “”Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things” as she was “burdened with much serving”. I think you and He are calling us to spend our time and energy with “the better part”

    Thanks for sharing your gratitudes!

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    1. Interesting observation. I agree that the big celebrations often require so much work that we end up exhausted and cranky rather than joyful. And that makes me want to be more Mary than Martha for those celebrations (or at least try and keep that in mind and not let myself go overboard with the planning and prep).

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  3. Another interesting piece. Really like the thought to celebrate the small things. Sometimes I focus so much on the big things that it’s easy to overlook the small everyday pleasures and small sparks of joy. Was great to catch up and I echo your thoughts, was so enjoyable and seem less to pick up after so many years, hopefully we won’t go as long again!.

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    1. Finding small, simple ways to celebrate the little things has been fun. Anything that is a slight change of pace but doesn’t require much effort/planning seems to work very well! Going to a different place that’s a bit out of the way for a coffee date with a friend can be a celebration. I agree – we definitely won’t wait another 10 years for our next lunch get-together!

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