Plenty to be thankful for...

It's that melancholy time of year: days getting shorter, and grayer; faux holiday cheer on the streets and in stores; "buy buy buy" warnings from the media; and families trying to gather the strength for one more get together (hopefully less contentious or stressful than last year's). It's also the time when many of us reflect on the past year, our hopes for the next and our relationships to people and whatever we call the Higher Power.

Some time ago I clipped this from Hoarded Ordinaries
In their work on Christian pilgrimage, anthropologists Victor and Edith Turner use the word communitas to talk about the experience pilgrims share when they arrive at their communal destination. Although each seeker might have taken a separate path, the footsteps leading to a spiritual goal being entirely one's own, when seekers meet up at Lourdes or Canterbury or Lough Derg, they find themselves in a community of believers. After traveling separate paths, these seekers are united by a shared belief that this particular place is the sight of special spiritual power... We each have to walk our paths alone...but at the end as well as along the way, we share our walks with other people.

Over the past few years I've been studying the works of C.S. Lewis (under the guidance and tutelage of Jim Como) and have, in a slothful way, made a pilgrimage towards a better understanding of the Divine and what Lewis called "Mere Christianity". I was not alone in this pilgrimage, there were others with me, and we all arrived at the end with different appreciations and results but, as the above says, "united by a shared belief that this particular [person] is the [site] of special spiritual power." And I'm thankful for that.

I'm also thankful for the friends I've made throughout the years. Recently I remade contact with a friend (almost said "old" friend, which she is but I really meant "someone I knew years ago"). She's in Australia and I'm here in America, and we haven't seen each other in almost 20 years. We might get together in April, when she's here for a family gathering. She is the person (excepting family) that I've known longest in my life. Then there are the friends I've recently made, equally important in my life because of the fresh perspectives and insights they provide.

Despite doing "nothing" yesterday, I felt comforted by the presence of my beloved cats. And last night, with Bogie curled on the pillow next to my head and Mallory using my feet as his pillow, I felt surrounded by their love.

No matter how gray or melancholy it gets, there really is "plenty to be thankful for."

(For those of you that don't know where that quote is from, or where the title of this blog is from, go rent Holiday Inn now)

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