Archive for October 6, 2010

Fall Reflections: Gratitude Revisited

   Walking in the park last weekend, I captured a sensory snapshot of a glorious fall scene: A burst of cranberry red and pear-gold tree tops creates a feathery mesh filter for marshmallow cream clouds, shrugging in slow motion across a backdrop of purest cerulean blue. And if that weren’t effusion enough, I look past the clouds to see a pale, ghostly white moon still haunting the late morning sky. Incredible. Makes one grateful to be a part of creation. 

I had been thinking about the topic of gratitude anyway, and how I wanted to address the subject this week. Although of all those who boast absolutely no justification for piety, chief among them would be me, I did recognize, even as a child, that I had much to be grateful for – from the abundance of super market offerings to laying down to sleep in a comfortable bed under a sound roof, with a father and mother just steps away for whom my welfare was a major concern. 

As an adult I have tried, with the faltering success of one who has never known hunger or hardship first-hand, to truly appreciate the privileged lifestyle to which we in this country have access. Just last week I had caught myself mentally grousing about some trifle, and consciously redirected my attention to the nicely warmed stream spurting out of the shower head at me. “Thank you, Lord, for clean, pure water,” I corrected myself. 

Then on Friday, as our Bosnian dinner guests share recollections of the loss and deprivation they have known, Mirsada coincidentally tells of offering up her gratitude for a recent shower because it reminded her of the days when violence and terror displaced her from her bomb-ravaged family home to a huge holding facility for war refugees, and baths and food were in meager supply. The substance of my own gratitude for a plenty I have always known deflates by comparison. 

But on this evening, we can share a bountiful meal and our combined thanks, so I pull out the Fiesta Ware and try to come up with a menu that this couples’ two thoroughly Western children will enjoy. Jenny, the oldest, is blessed to be immersed in her parents’ heritage, and her American-born younger brother will likely hear enough of their struggles to grow to understand the perspective that gives his parents a unique brand of gratefulness.

On this night, we are all grateful to to partake of the plenty which, by God’s grace, still exists in our society. A huge batch of homemade macaroni and cheese ( satisfies the youngsters. For everybody, Simplified Oven-Fried Chicken seems to appeal. And for a slightly more sophisticated take on things for the grown-ups, Whole-Wheat Linguine with Spinach and Fresh Tomatoes; Brussels Sprouts with Sausage, Craisins, and Pine Nuts, Baked Squash Gratin, Brandied Roasted Apple Slices, and a nice loaf of buttered, oven-warmed multi-grain bread. 

To cover all age-ranges, dessert is Chocolate Cupcakes Sandwiched with Butter Pecan Ice Cream and Smothered in Hot Fudge Sauce. Truly, gratitude comes naturally when the gifts of good food are wrapped in the company of good people. Do I hear an “Amen”? (more…)

October 6, 2010 at 10:51 pm 1 comment

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