Last week some time, my dad started having trouble getting into his email inbox on his big computer which is named the “Big Mac”. I don’t use Apple products and was of no help at all, though I tried to troubleshoot with the little knowledge I have. Both brothers are out of state, but one did try to help over Facetime with no success. I can easily get overwhelmed feeling that I have to try to solve all problems here on my own – especially with the pandemic and trying to keep contact with others down to a minimum. Today, my other brother called who has been pondering the email situation. He figured out a way to take control of my dad’s computer from afar and worked through the troubles. After about an hour and a half of tedious work, he got the issue corrected. I learned more about the computer and how to potentially fix it if the same problem happens again. My dad and I were so grateful for the time and the help that my brother provided.
I Found God today in my brother’s generosity.
We had been thinking, praying, talking, and deciding how to spend Thanksgiving safely this year with the desire to see family – just like every other family in the country. Both my sisters and brother-in-law work from home and have very little contact with other people, so we decided that we could get together pretty safely by doing things a little differently. One sister cooked the turkey completely, waited for it to cool, cut it up, and packed it up. Each of us had our dishes completely ready to serve or in individual containers when they arrived at the house. My sisters and brother-in-law stayed in the kitchen while my parents had the rest of the house. We all wore our masks, except when we ate. The day was a lovely dance as we all gave each other plenty of space. We weren’t all gathered around the same table, but enjoyed the food and the company just the same. After dinner, we got on Zoom with the whole family for a while. Later, instead of having friends over to make Christmas wreaths, my sisters and I worked out in the garage to put some together. The day was summed up as my dad added an impromptu prayer after grace and thanked God for our family. Thanksgiving was different, but still a tremendous blessing.
I Found God today blessed with family.
A couple of weeks ago, a friend’s husband passed away. He participated in the Parkinson’s exercise class that my mom went to before the pandemic. She remembers him as always having a good attitude and bringing laughter to the class. Once he started having physical problems, they seemed to just increase one after the other, each with more pain and no relief. When I think about him now, I see him smiling, relaxed, and at peace. I set up a Mass to be said for his soul and sent the card to my friend. We received a beautiful thank you card from her that was made of 2 photographs that her husband had taken. One was dozens of rosaries hanging down and was titled, “After the Pilgrimage”. In the card, my friend thanked us and said she was comforted that Masses will be prayed for him in different parts of the country. My mom and I were deeply moved.
I Found God today in comfort received through Mass prayers.
When my sister was a child, she seemed pretty interested in plants. So, my mom bought her a plant cart and accessories for her birthday one year. Little did she realize that she would one day have her own large garden that she cultivates and sells the produce. My sister also worked for Starbucks for many years. During that time, she got a small coffee tree. She has been protecting it and nurturing it as it grew to the ceiling. When she moved from state to state, she made special accommodations to make sure the tree would make the trip. Recently, my sister realized the time for the tree was limited. She has been collecting the seeds the tree has provided and sprouted over a dozen babies, and has additional seeds to plant at any time. Today, she sadly informed me that the tree was gone. This is what she said, “I ceremoniously took it to the compost pile, said I would take good care of it’s children and that it would reincarnate into another lovely plant.” After 12 years of tending to the tree, she said it felt like a friend. My mom and I cried with her. My sister truly has a beautiful love for God’s creation.
I Found God today in my sister’s love for creation.
Today a family member sent a poem that speaks to most of us right now. Thanksgiving may look quite different for many, but being grateful for our perceived “setbacks” is just as important as being grateful for the good times. They are both blessings.
Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire.
If you did, what would there be to look forward to? Be thankful when you don’t know something, for it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times. During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations, because they give you opportunities for improvement. Be thankful for each new challenge, because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes. They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary, because it means you’ve made a difference.
It’s easy to be thankful for the good things. A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are also thankful for the setbacks. Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive, find a way to be thankful for your troubles, and they can become your blessings.
“Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.”
I Found God today in a poem about being grateful for setbacks.
This morning my parents and I headed downstairs for church. I got Mass started on the big screen and lit the candle on our homemade altar. The processional hymn was being sung as I blew out the match and put it in a container. When I looked at the TV, I saw the smoke billowing as the priest incensed the altar. Just at that moment, I was sure I could smell the incense. It was probably the smell of my own candle and the match, and the power of suggestion. But it was a beautiful experience and reminder of why we do what we do at church.
I Found God today smelling the incense.
I was so happy to visit with a friend today. She told me a story of a man who showed up on her doorstep one afternoon. He looked haggard and worn. He said he had noticed all the leaves in her front yard and offered to clean them up. The man said that his hours had been cut at work and he was struggling to make ends meet. His car was in the shop and he didn’t quite have enough money to pick it up, so he was going through the neighborhood looking for work to earn what he needed. My friend and I have talked before about giving to people who are begging on street corners and such. She prays that God will let her know who she should share her money with. In the end, we are only responsible to do what God is asking us to do, and the recipient is responsible for what they do with it. My friend’s heart stirred as she listened to the man and she agreed to pay him for his work. When he had finished raking and bagging all the leaves, they chatted a bit. The man showed my friend photos of his kids and told her where he lived. He said he had been going door to door for 3 hours praying that someone would help him. He was so grateful to my friend as he left with a God Bless You. The interaction was a beautiful reminder of our responsibility to help people in need.
I Found God today in my generous friend and a grateful stranger.
In skimming my emails today, a paragraph from an advertised blog caught my eye:
The world is not a very comfortable place right now. Now, it could certainly be worse (although I don’t usually find that reminder too terribly comforting); but it has also definitely been better. To say that the difficulties, tragedies, injustices, and uncertainties of this year have been utterly overwhelming would probably be a gross understatement for most of us. But if we are uncomfortable in the world, that is okay. More than okay—we’re not actually supposed to be too comfortable here.
The rest of the blog talks about how this life on this earth is not all there is. It truly is a means to an end – hopefully and prayerfully a life with God. It was encouraging and thought provoking. I highly recommend this short read from St. John Vianney theological seminary.
I Found God today in a reminder that it’s OK not to be comfortable here.
It was cold at the cabin this morning. Even though the sun was shining brightly, there was a cold breeze blowing. Usually I am out the door early for a walk around the area, but it was too cold for me. After a while however, I got a strong desire to at least step outside and see what was happening. As soon as I shut the door, I heard the familiar sounds of the wild turkeys. I looked up to the road and spotted them. They were trotting past the house in single file. I watched about 20 of them go by before I headed up to the road to see the whole flock together. It felt like God’s little gift to me.
I Found God today going outside at the perfect time to see the flock of turkeys.
It was another mild day at the cabin today, so I spent much of the day outside. For the past couple of years I have trimmed some evergreen branches to make Christmas wreaths. This year there was no snow, so I hiked around and found a greater variety. It was very serene and quiet except for an occasional breeze blowing the trees. At one point, a chickadee flew in one of the trees that I was trimming and greeted me with the familiar “chik-a-dee-dee-dee”! I said hello and the little bird made his way closer, branch by branch calling his tune. I wondered if he was asking what I was doing to his tree, or perhaps asking where the bird food was. In any case, it was a welcomed encounter as we exchanged close greetings for a few seconds and it made me smile.
I Found God today in a friendly chickadee.