Gratefulness for Things Unseen

When I sit down to eat with my beloved ones, we always begin by going around the table to name the things for which we are thankful! Depending on their age, each child and adult states quite concretely what it is that makes her or him grateful–dollies, hexbugs, friends, houses to live in, food to eat.  I too am grateful for each tangible gift that Grace brings in to my life. However, this year I am pondering the intangible, the things that I cannot see, rather only sense and trust, things experienced and known in my bones. I am making my list:

  • whimsy
  • tones in voice and music
  • intuition
  • synchronicity
  • energy
  • instinct
  • memory
  • wisdom
  • laughter
  • integrity
  • trust
  • kindness
  • compassion

Each day that I ponder this, more magnificent things unseen come into my awareness. Yet I know that each of these invisible gifts comes embedded in a body, a personality and entity that can be seen. As if in a parade, I see faces and physiques, portraits of the ones who in their very essence are bearers of these invisible gifts of Grace. It is in the sparkling eye, the serene pose, the attentive expression, the open posture, the gentle touch that all the invisible gifts become real and substantial. And all these gifts are from God, are in God.

Lady Julian again comes alongside me to frame that reality. In a new translation of The Showings of Julian of Norwich by Mirabai Starr, Julian tells of  her visions that came to her when she is suffering a great illness; she saw:

...that God is everything that is good for us, everything that soothes and helps us. God is our clothing; God wraps himself around us, enfolding us in his love…God is all that is good. God created all that is made. God loves all that he has created. And so anyone who in loving God, loves all her fellow creatures loves all that is. (Chapters 5 and 9).


As I continue to count the blessed things unseen that enrich, nourish and sustain me in the coming days dedicated to gratitude, I will be seeing those invisible things in the God-bearers: in the one who speaks in sweet tones, in the one who cares for the escaped hamster, in the one who is ready to work and play 24/7, in the one who risks being kind to another who might be overlooked altogether, and in all the rest, who light up my life and bring glory to God. It is fitting to celebrate this Sunday the Reign of Christ

                   who is the image of the invisible God, the first born of all creation; for in him all this in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible…(Colossians 1: 15-16)

 

 

 

About Elizabeth Nordquist

Elizabeth Nordquist is a Presbyterian pastor, teacher, and spiritual director who writes on women's issues, spirituality and Scripture, and what is happening in the world--hers, her neighborhood, the Church and the world. Each day she looks for ways in which the Spirit is moving in and around her.


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