“To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us – and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him.
Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.” – Thomas Merton
Last weekend was Thanksgiving here in Canada. A celebration of gratitude for all that is good, Thanksgiving is a holiday that has become synonymous with great meals and time with family. It is a celebration of plenty. Thanksgiving is a holiday that acknowledges with gratitude the fruitfulness of the earth. We have different ways to express gratitude. We have different nations of what gratitude looks like.
So….What does gratitude look like? If you could place an image on gratitude – what would that image be? After last weekend, Here is what the image is for me…
Chocolate dipped strawberries!
Let me explain why….
St. Aidan’s church sends a team once a month to the Saturday Night Dinner Program at St. John the Evangelist church here in London, ON. It happened that last Saturday was our day, which happened to be Thanksgiving weekend. It was my first opportunity to assist with the dinner. I was very impressed with St John’s and the program that they have in place. They offer a cooked meal to people who need it every Saturday night of the year. I was also very impressed and very proud ofour team from St. Aidan’s. Each member was there with a spirit that seemed to yearn to fulfill the call of our baptism ‘to respect the dignity of every human being.’
Saturday saw us serve over 125 hungry souls. It was thanksgiving weekend and I was conscious that I would have lots to be thankful for in the couple of days ahead of me. I was conscious of the fact that there would be a lot of good food for which I would be most grateful. I could not have known that the sweetest food that I would eat on thanksgiving weekend would come at that dinner. In the height of our food service, a volunteer from St. John’s came into the kitchen carrying a tray of chocolate dipped strawberries. She said, “One of our diners brought these in. She asked that I bring them to the kitchen and say ‘thank-you!'”
I was very touched by this gesture. After the day was done, and the last dish was washed, I enjoyed the sweetest of strawberries. With each bite of each berry, I offered a silent thanksgiving prayer for the many ways that God is at work in our lives. One tray of berries became the image of gratitude for me. Sometimes things have to be quite large for us to remember to say thank you – but the sweetest riches of God’s love are found in how we relate with one another. There was no need for a strawberry on Saturday – I was there because it was the right place to be. The strawberry was so sweet because it was so freely given and such a heartfelt expression of gratitude. The whole event reminded me that God is so at work in s many people.