The night before, on Christmas Eve, after spending the evening with Luis and the family in his living room; after a lamb dinner and after making toasts to friendship and love, after Luis had left (around midnight) and Ives had finished talking to his daughter and sister, Katherine, about the next day's plans (dinner at his daughter's and son-in-law's apartment at three), he got into bed beside his wife; after carrying on to Annie about the cruel and selfish changes in the political climate of the country in regard to the poor and disadvantaged (unfairly condemned in Ives' words to a "hopeless future") and after kissing his wife, Ives slept through the night serenely...
Ives has finally reached a kind of peace in his life. He has met with his son's murderer and forgiven him. His daughter is married to a good man. His grandchildren are beautiful and healthy. He is still passionately in love with his wife, and his wife is passionately in love with him. In his old age, Ives is happy and blessed.
In the past 365 days, my life has changed dramatically. Last year on this night, my good friend, Ray, had a fatal heart attack outside a gas station. A little over three months ago, my sister passed away after a three-month battle with brain lymphoma. My kitchen ceiling collapsed this summer. The brakes on my car grind. And it's snowing tonight.
Like Ives, I have a generally melancholy nature. The last twelve months have tested me. Darkness has been an almost constant companion. This Thanksgiving night, I haven't quite made peace with this darkness. I still get angry and sad about my sister's death. My kitchen ceiling still has a hole in it. I still don't have the money to fix my brakes. And, tomorrow morning, I am going to have to shovel my driveway.
However, I am grateful this Thanksgiving. I ran a 5K race this morning, and I finished it without injury. I got to eat two really good turkey dinners this afternoon. I don't have to work tomorrow. My daughter's friend who's a boy (which is different from boyfriend) is spending a couple of days at my house, and he's a good kid. I like him. Christmas is just around the corner, and a new year is on the way.
I am at peace this evening. Sure, I'll struggle tomorrow and the next day. And the next. And the next. The world is not a perfect place. There's terrorism and poverty and hunger, and that's just tomorrow morning when my son wakes up. But, given the choice is between sadness and hope, I will choose hope every time
Saint Marty gives thanks for hope this snowy Thanksgiving. Hope for health and prosperity. Love and kindness. Beauty and poetry.
by: Mary Oliver
It grew in the black mud.
It grew under the tiger’s orange paws.
Its stems thicker than candles, and as straight.
Its leaves like the feathers of egrets, but green.
The grains cresting, wanting to burst.
Oh, blood of the tiger.
I don’t want you to just sit at the table.
I don’t want you just to eat, and be content.
I want you to walk into the fields
Where the water is shining, and the rice has risen.
I want you to stand there, far from the white tablecloth.
I want you to fill your hands with mud, like a blessing.
Off the Top of My Head