Let us Give Thanks!

This weekend I attended the memorial service of a dear friend from college that passed away recently. He beat cancer as a teen, and it returned at 30. If I could sum his amazing life-loving attitude up in one phrase, it would be one that the priest shared on Saturday, "Live it out!". Sunday I went to the UU church service with my mom and the Minister shared the story below, an excerpt from a New York Times article by Susan Schnur. To read the full article, click the title above.

"Once, many years ago, sleeping on the sofa bed in the living room of my boyfriend's parents' house in Teaneck, N.J., I witnessed a performance of gratitude the likes of which I have never seen elsewhere.

It was the middle of the night - I was up with my own back pain - when the light flashed on in the upstairs hall and Jon's father came padding down into the room. Oblivious of me, he went into the kitchen, cut himself a slab of rye bread with a butcher knife, then stood with it in the dining room under the street shadows.

''Chleb,'' he said finally, thrusting the bread into the air. ''Broit'' - he held the bread against his pajama pocket. ''Pane'' - he shook it. ''Lechem'' - kissed it. ''Bread'' - took a bite.

This he did over and over, saying the word in more languages than I could imagine existed -thrusting, hugging, shaking, kissing, biting, exclaiming - until he stood in the room empty-fisted. Then he burped roomily and went back up the stairs to bed.

I think of that night a lot, especially when I am up myself at 3 A.M. It seems almost premonitory. I think: What did I know about this man? That he loved his wife, yes. His children. That he checked on his kids too often in their rooms; changed the oil in his car every thousand miles; kept unnecessary dry goods in his basement. His family used to laugh at him.

He seemed sometimes, on an ordinary morning, almost stunned by the fierceness of his happiness. He was, it now seems clear to me, exhausted by his blessings; in a sense, afraid of them.

He was a Holocaust survivor, Jonny's dad."

As we gather with friends and family this week, let's allow ourselves to release the past and pain and embrace the true richness of the present moment.

With thanks,

1 comment:

E. Michelle said...

It's easy to accept the Present moment when we are grateful for all events and our existence in it. :-)

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