Tag Archives: Gratitude

Lessons from a Mountaintop Experience

Death in the Family

My grandmother died March 30, 2003. It was painful and breathtaking. And then…

Maybe ten days later, my father was rushed to the ER. Blood clots were killing him. By the time I got to the hospital, dad’s heart had stopped and he’d been resuscitated twice.

The doctor working with him asked if we wanted to sign DNR papers. I didn’t want that and I was certain my mom didn’t, but she was so distraught she couldn’t make the decision.

My dad died twice more and was revived without having to crack his chest, before my mom made her decision. In fact, she never made the decision.

Continue reading Lessons from a Mountaintop Experience

Amen

by Shari Lynne Smothers

Flury of Cedar Waxwings

Thank you Father, for everything.
For the flowers and the trees
and birds that sing.
For the cool, smooth crooning,
Jazz playing on my stereo.
For all the places You’ve taken me.
For all the experiences I have yet to know.
There are so many things
that I have yet to learn.
There are so many doors that You’ve opened for me
until I know not which way to turn.

I falter at times. Though generally I try hard,
I don’t always put my best foot forward.
Eternally grateful am I that You’re not at all, to me,
indifferent apathetic and untoward.
The ever-vigil watch that You keep,
continuing my very breathing while I sleep
sometimes goes unnoticed.
I can’t always see You through my worries.
I forget that Your graces are
all-powerful through all my stories.
Each scenario I come up with to
worry me to pieces
is a contingent handled. Before I get there
I have been released.

Woe be unto me, not for having been forsaken,
but for forgetting who was in charge of
this light of mine, for forgetting
that Your unerring watch will ever remain unshaken.

from Pebbles in My Shoes ©2004

Back-story: This poem is older than many of the others included in the book. It came from a morning reflection after a particularly hectic time in my life. I was sitting in my car parked at the Lake Front in New Orleans, Louisiana reading a book.

I was distracted by emotion thinking about having finally finished college. And I was grateful. I wanted to capture the gratitude, appreciation and thankfulness I was feeling. I flipped to the back of the book that I was reading and let this flow from my pencil.

Amen represents a culmination of a lifetime of gratitude to that point. It’s in this book because that sense of gratitude is ever present, certainly reinforced by milestones in my life, like the publication of Pebbles in My Shoes.

Gratitude Habit

It’s fitting to end this month with this poem because I’m pleased that I managed to participate even for a short while in National Poetry Month. And I got to do it on my own terms.

Blogging is a great way for me to get my writing out. It’s been pretty exciting since I’m usually not so brave. When I think back, this time last year I hardly knew what the bloggosphere was about. Now I write posts at work and at home and I only want to get better at it.

I’m grateful. And this habit of being thankful has taken over my life. It is something that I consciously cultivated as I reminded myself even in my heaviest hours to be grateful. It’s been joyfully dubbed my gratitude habit by a very dear friend.

Please share your expressions of gratitude. I would love to include a link to your blog in a post in early May.

Resisting the Feeling that I’m Not Enough

I suffered an invisibility crisis. Being unappreciated was an associated feeling. It wasn’t from passing insecurities, but from the words. And I marveled again at how cutting and devastating they can be. I may have been out of practice because it’s been a while since anyone hurt my feelings. But just a brief sentence sent me reeling.


Partly Cloudy
Clouds

Overcast without a cloud
no external indication
save for the
sarcastic tones
of address
and heavy sighs
of discontent.

Always the sense
of having fallen short
of the mark
expected for me to reach.

I took time to regain my balance. Returning to my center was going to take some doing. I didn’t have time to just sit with it because there was so much going on. The first chance I got to think and to meditate and be, I was too upset to focus.

It’s always intrigues me how God put things and people and messages in our paths at just the right time. It’s because of Morning B.R.E.W. sessions that I can step outside of most things quickly. And even closer to the event, the day before, the church sermon was for me. Pastor Edwards’ message was to ask for mercy that fits my case. Figure out what I need according to me and tell it to God.

My soul cried out in anguish. And I sent up prayers of thanks because I knew that I didn’t have to stay in this way. Watching, praying, grateful that I just trusted that better was moments away.

At home, I checked my email and found the message I needed in my BREW series newsletter, the Monday Morning Inspiration.

Date : 2008-04-07

BREW MONDAY INSPIRATION

Dear God,
Help me to be
still enough
long enough
to know that there is a place within
on the other side of silence

where love lives.
Amen

©2008 by Kirk Byron Jones

My prayers were a guide for what I needed. I learned that my efforts were not appreciated or even seen. And I had to accept that but I needed to know that I am enough. My focus was then on what could make me whole again, make me want to continue to try. This prayer/poem was the perfect message for me, from God through Kirk Byron Jones.

Once again, I am granted what I asked for, peace of mind. In this and many instances besides, I attest to the power of prayer and meditation and Morning B.R.E.W. time.

Partly Cloudy is from my poetry collection called Pebbles in My Shoes, published by Author House in 2004. It’s where the feelings took me for a while.