Rain. Reign.

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I had other plans for this weekend. Spreading mulch and doing weeding, some errands to the garden center… which the downpours have postponed. And I’ll confess it made me a little cranky.

Then I broke a favorite glass…

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And  I have to pay bills… do laundry and dishes… All which were  beginning to put me in a foul mood. Instead, I focused on the loveliness around me…

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The first Peace rose of the summer…

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Irises from our garden…

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The wisteria having a party on the pergola…

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Grandma’s peonies about to pop…

And while I’m still a little cranky about the weather… there’s a lot of beauty to appreciate. And the discipline of gratefulness to practice… even when the weather (or people like me!) are just a wee bit ugly!

Henri Nouwen wrote in Return of the Prodigal Son:

“Gratitude as a discipline involves a conscious choice. I can choose to be grateful even when my emotions and feelings are still steeped in hurt and resentment. It is amazing how many occasions present themselves in which I can choose gratitude instead of a complaint. I can choose to be grateful when I am criticized, even when my heart still responds in bitterness. I can choose to speak about goodness and beauty, even when my inner eye still looks for someone to accuse or something to call ugly. I can choose to listen to the voices that forgive and to look at the faces that smile, even while I still hear words of revenge and see grimaces of hatred.”

I choose to be grateful and keep trying to show love. Even when I don’t feel like it. Especially when I don’t feel like it.

Raking Leaves: An Exercise in Gratefulness?

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That, my friends, is the culmination of about 2 weeks worth of raking, mulching, composting and bagging some of the leaves in our back yard. 16 containers/bags of leaves! Both compost bins are stuffed to the max (twice). With the weather forecast heading to below-I-don’t-wanna-know later this week, I decided to try and make a little headway.

I don’t mind yard work, as a rule. It’s a great excuse to be outside. We have multiple bird feeders, dens of rabbits and the occasional fox, hawk and possum. In the middle of suburbia, there’s a lot to see.

This year I realized how lucky I am. I am physically able to rake my leaves. So many of my patients are exhausted, unable to handle the smallest of chores around their homes. Laundry, groceries, cooking and cleaning are beyond them. They are dependent on friends or pay out large chunks of cash.

So as I raked and stuffed each bag, I thought about them. Named them. Prayed for those who help them. Each time I hauled another bag to the curb this afternoon, I wondered who would be handling their leaves and (too soon) shoveling their walkways.

I walked my labyrinth afterwards, letting my body cool down from the exertion. So much to be grateful for… and I am.

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-2

Everything on earth
has its own time
    and its own season.
There is a time
for birth and death,
    planting and reaping…

Tchaikovsky – The Seasons – Autumn