This blog didn’t get written on time this week. As a matter of fact, it got written at the very last possible moment. Understand, it is not that I don’t enjoy writing these – I do, especially when readers share their observations. It was just that so much happened this week that I just didn’t get around to writing this until now.
Phew! That’s all I can say! Every day this week, something unsettling happened. Some of these things were very positive and uplifting. Others were heartfelt and wrought with emotion. The common thread that held these extremes together was a sense of gratitude. Deep gratitude.
I got to thinking about how it was that I have arrived at my 66th year remarkably intact, considering. I was able to make my way around town without too much trouble. Found parking spots that were near my destinations. Had doors opened by kind, considerate people (some young, some old!). Engaged in some interesting conversations with bank tellers and wait persons. Shared meals with neighbors, discussed current events, slept in a home in a bed that had fresh sheets. Didn’t have to worry about the weather, or finding food, or having resources to meet my needs.
During a break, I saw a meme on Facebook that struck me. It suggested that instead of saying “I’m sorry . . .” it might be more profound (and more transformational) to say “Thank you . . .” This led to reading lots of blogs on the power of gratitude and how challenging it can be to change such a well-developed habit. I really had to think about ways to automatically not say, “I’m sorry!”.
So, I have given myself a challenge, and I invite you to do this also: Take a look at these commonly expressed statements and see what you can come up with!
|I’m sorry I’m so late!”||Thank you for waiting for me!|
|I’m sorry to be so needy.||Thank you for being patient with me.|
|I’m sorry to ask for a favor.||Thank you for being so generous with your time.|
|I’m sorry but I can’t make it.||Thank you for inviting me.|
|I’m sorry I have been in touch.||Thank you for being understanding.|
I suspect you can come up with others. It is an interesting exercise!
This also got me to thinking about the German theologian and mystic, Meister Eckhart. I first learned about him in a world religion course in graduate school. We were studying the concepts of forgiveness as it impacts the therapeutic relationship. In many spiritual traditions, petitioners (sinners) are expected to ask God (Higher Power) for forgiveness. This act typically requires the petitioner to admit to having done something wrong, or to having a flaw. In making that admission, the opportunity for forgiveness arises. If the petitioner is sincere enough, or completes the correct ritual, s/he can be forgiven.
In modern therapy, the therapist often takes on the role of the “forgiver”. We encourage our clients to reveal their deepest, darkest secrets in the hope that exposing them in a safe place with someone who will not be judgmental will free the client from the burden of shame or guilt.
Meister Eckhart, as a priest and intercessor, wrote many sermons meant to inspire his listeners to do some good. He gave these sermons in the language of the day, not in lofty Latin. His written works were lost for several centuries, but were resurrected in the 19th century are enjoying a new-found following of contemporary theologians.
One of his most profound quotes, at least as I see it, has to do with gratitude. It fits in with a concept I have been tossing over in my mind: What does it mean to be “enough” as we age? Meister Eckhart is credited with saying, “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” This seems to be key for me.
So, thank you, my readers, for taking the time to read this blog. Thank you for supporting me in my quest to create purpose and meaning as I age.
Let this be enough!