Sunday, November 18, 2012

Phaith: Exercising gratitude

In these darkling days, even when there isn't a hurricane, I'm grateful for light.  The photo show my desk mid-hurricane.  No electricity, but a great LED lantern designed by Chris illuminated my grading. (You take two stacking plastic cups, half fill the bottom one with water, put the second one on top and insert a brace of LEDs inside.  The water diffuses the LEDs light nicely.)

The November issue of Phaith magazine is up and online. My post-hurricane column is on gratitude. Not only for the lights and heat of the present moment, but for gifts given throughout the years. In return? I'm committing random acts of gratitude. In the moment deprivation is a potent tool for discerning the difference between needs and wants.
...As I dressed in the dark and cold each morning, I was grateful to have clean and warm clothes to wear, even if I went to had to teach class in an outfit that was a bit more casual than my wont. (Next time my hurricane preparations will include not only finding the hand pump for the basement, but ironing a couple of pairs of pants for work!)
But memory fades quickly, even when the circumstances have been far more difficult than our brief return to the pre-electric age. Stranded on drifting ice for months after his expedition’s boat had been crushed, Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton wrote in his journal that, if he were rescued, he would never again complain of being too hot. After a harrowing trip through a hurricane in an open boat, Shackleton found himself overheated — and complaining about it — as he hiked over an island mountain pass in search of help.
I thought of Shackleton this afternoon when I reached into the (newly cleaned out) fridge and was momentarily annoyed that we had no milk. Until it hit me that I now had light by which to see that!
St. Ignatius of Loyola felt that ingratitude was at the root of sin...
Read the rest here....

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