Gifts & Graces: August 2022

Gifts & Graces

It is not happiness that makes us grateful. It’s gratefulness that makes us happy.

Br. David Steindl-Rast

Here’s my random gratitude collection of mostly small but sometimes large things that helped make August better.

Rain. It’s been a scorching, dry summer. This year, I actually notice and am thankful for rain showers. Rather than being an annoyance that interferes with my plans, I appreciate the smell of the rain (what IS that distinctive smell?), the sound of the raindrops splatting onto the roof and gurgling through our noisy gutters, seeing the soil in my flower pots thirstily soak up the water, and watching the plants stand a little taller with an infusion of water. Most of all, I am glad the lawns, flowers, trees, birds, and animals get some much-needed moisture.

Seeing a friend in person. I recently had lunch with a friend I talk with frequently, but we rarely see each other. It reminded me that although I’m very grateful for technology like Facetime that allows me to see her during our conversations, it’s not the same as actually being together. There’s also something about sharing a meal (although each time we meet for lunch, I lament that we can’t indulge in a cocktail since we’re both driving) that makes our time feel even more special.

CSA tomatoes and peppers

Tomatoes. I admit to being a tomato snob. I don’t even bother to eat the tasteless out-of-season tomatoes (except the little grape tomatoes, which seem consistently good all year around). But native tomatoes from my local CSA in August are practically an entirely different vegetable (fruit?) from February supermarket tomatoes. I am enjoying many BLT sandwiches, slices of tomatoes on every possible sandwich, roasted tomato focaccia, tomatoes in salads, and just plain sliced tomatoes on a plate with big chunks of flaky salt. And since tomato season doesn’t last too long, I feel entitled to indulge.

Anticipation of a trip. I probably get as much enjoyment from the anticipation of an upcoming trip as I do being on the trip. But I’m still working on balancing the anticipation and the stress. As much as I look forward to being away, I tend to get overly invested in the logistics of what needs to be done before I can leave. I make lists. And then revise the lists. And revise some more. And then start obsessing about how to get all the items on the list completed before I leave. For this trip, every time I notice myself getting stressed, I’m mentally blowing away the miasma of anxiety and instead letting the expectation of joy fill my heart.

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.

2 comments

  1. Totally agree on all fronts Cathy! Speaking of trips and friends in person, I’m home finally, kids are off to school and the calendar, while busy, is in place so I can make plans again! So lets get something on the schedule!

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  2. I’m actually laughing as I read through your list bc every one touches me in some way. I walked in the rain yesterday, embracing my wet shoes and stringy damp hair (ball cap head). It felt so good to feel the rain and clear my head! For dinner last night, I cut up a tomato and ate it with egg whites and cheese. Just as you described, the taste of garden grown tomatoes is like no other (thanks to my neighbors for sharing their overflow). I am currently creating my Grand Cayman List and was frustrated to the point of, well, getting up from my computer and walking in rain, because of the stress (Medical Insurance while traveling internationally) created for something that is supposed to bring me joy. And, lastly, of course I understand your acknowledgment of the lunch with a bestie who you rarely see face to face. That lunch fed my soul and my belly. It’s almost time for another one. I love your blog and I love you.

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