Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Dietrich Bonhoeffer’

A Day of Gratitude



“In normal life we hardly realize how much more we receive than we give, and life cannot be rich without such gratitude. It is so easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements compared with what we owe to the help of others.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison



Thanksgiving 2020. Not a year that we want to really celebrate, is it? 

There were lots of tough days this past year for many people and there are certain more to come in the next few months.

But Thanksgiving, perhaps more so for this year, is a day of pause. Today, we get to take a brief moment to reflect on our past and present because that is where gratitude and love reside. Our fears and worries for a harsh near-future are temporarily set aside and we express our thanks for those folks who have made our lives possible, who have lifted us up, who have enriched our world.

This year we must make sure to include those often overlooked doctors, nurses, and all other healthcare workers. They are doing tough and remarkable work right now while putting their own health at risk every day. They are being asked to give so much right now and deserve our thanks and appreciation.

I have a long list of other folks that I could list here. My life, like all others, is the result of the assistance, guidance, encouragement, and love given to me by others.

Without these people and the many things they have given me, my life would no doubt be like an empty and dark room without windows. With them, it is a bright and airy room filled with windows that open to new and wondrous landscapes. The gratitude I feel now in the present moment for what they provided me in the past gives me greater hope for the future. 

And maybe that’s the lesson of thanksgiving, that by recognizing our gratitude and debt for what others have given us up to now we can then see that we have the ability to get through anything the future holds for us. 

And that’s saying a lot. 

Have a Good and Hopeful Thanksgiving. 

Read Full Post »

“From a Distance”– Currently at the West End Gallery

***********************

The essence of optimism is that it takes no account of the present, but it is a source of inspiration, of vitality and hope where others have resigned; it enables a man to hold his head high, to claim the future for himself and not to abandon it to his enemy.

–Dietrich Bonhoeffer

***********************

Yesterday, for the first time in many moons, I felt a sensation that seemed distinctly out of place for the feelings that have been swirling around inside me lately. It was a twinge, a pang, a fleeting pulse of optimism.

I think it was the announcement of Kamala Harris as Joe Biden‘s running mate that did it. I had been expecting– and hoping– that she would be the pick. The daughter of immigrants, she’s smart, tough, and forward looking but also warm and engaging. What’s not to like?

But even expecting it, I was surprised at my own reaction to the announcement. It made me happy in a way that I haven’t felt in some time.

Optimistic.

It took a while to recognize this long lost feeling, this optimism. It’s been gone so it seems almost foreign and I have found myself more apt to use words like pessimism and cynicism to describe my feelings about the future.

But the truth be told, I kind of like it.

I like the idea that there are responsible adults stepping up to face the multitude of problems facing us at this time. As daunting as the situation, this little bit of newfound optimism makes me think we can find solutions going into the future.

It’s like the torch on the Statue of Liberty has been dark for the past four years– it sure feels that way and there’s talk that it might be set ablaze again. Eyes look up again.

Like I said, I like this feeling but it still makes me a bit nervous. I fear that others who feel the same thing will think that this optimism somehow replaces the need for hard work and attention to detail in the coming months.

Pay attention. Dot your i’s and cross your t’s, people. Make sure you’re registered and vote even if it means standing in line for hour upon hour.

This is the most critical election of our lives. That is not hyperbole.

We are still down in a dark pit but at least our eyes are looking up a bit now. And there is light up there.

Like the great Curtis Mayfield song they used after introducing Biden and Kamala’s partnership, let’s Move On Up.

Have a good day and keep your eyes up.

PS: The quote at the top is from Dietrich Bonhoefer, who wrote an essay that I used in a blog post, On Stupidity, which is easily my most visited post.

 

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: