Thursday, November 22, 2007

563. Grateful once again

I've posted these words before, but can't hear them enough:

"To pray is to regain a sense of the mystery that animates all beings, the divine margin in all attainments. Prayer is our humble answer to the inconceivable surprise of living. It is all we can offer in return for the mystery by which we live. Who is worthy to be present at the constant unfolding of time? Amidst the meditation of mountains, the humility of flowers--wiser than all alphabets--clouds that die constantly for the sake of God's glory, we are hating, hunting, hurting. Suddenly we feel ashamed of our clashes and complaints in the face of the tacit glory in nature. It is so embarrassing to live! Only one response can maintain us: gratefulness for witnessing the wonder, for the gift of our unearned right to serve, to adore, and to fulfill. It is gratefulness which makes the soul great."
--Abraham Joshua Heschel

I attended the interfaith service again this year, a most gentle hour and a half. There were prayers and readings from scripture (including a riveting telling of the Passover story by a minister who sounded unlike anyone I've ever heard around the seder table), but our common language was music: a Japanese song on koto; a gospel choir; a bell accompanying Buddhist meditation as we envisioned all beings as happy, well and peaceful; Native American chant; a Methodist hymn; Violetta Parra's "Gracias A La Vida"; Aaron Copland's "At the River"; Hineh ma tov ("Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters dwell in harmony").

Then I went to dinner with friends, the wonderful sounds still reverberating in my mind and mixing with the taste of pita and olive oil. Tonight, another tradition: Thanksgiving dinner with more great friends and my dearest relative at a new restaurant (she gets to pick each year, as she's a foodie). How grateful I am to spend this day with family I love (vs. family I'm obliged to endure while stuffing my face with turkey as football blares in the background). I am also grateful to have no need or desire to run to Sears at 4AM on this lovely Black Friday. May we all have the luxury of sitting home today and doing nothing except writing in our blogs!

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