May Day Gratitude

05/01/2012

My heart is overflowing with gratitude… even more than usual on this delightfully rainy first day of May. Upon waking this morning, I gave immediate thanks to God for the songbirds enjoying the trees, shrubs, water and food sources in my yard. I am thankful to live very close to a forested park preserve with a mighty river running through it, which helps support the variety of birds I enjoy having in my neighbourhood. Thank you God, thank you God, thank you God! 

Every morning I enjoy doing my prayer ritual with more than words. I speak aloud, and then spend moments in quiet. Feeling the essence of gratitude rising in my heart, my mind, my very being. Knowing the truth taught by Meister Eckhart seven hundred years ago: “If the only prayer you say in your life is ‘thank you’ that would suffice.”  ~ Meister Eckhart

While I am an appreciative person, feeding my faith with a steady diet of gratitude, today I am especially brimming with thankfulness.

After praying and feeding the pets, I fussed over my two trays of bedding plants and perennials brought into the house a bit too late last night. They had endured being snowed on! I was remiss in noticing the rain had become frozen pellets so they came into the house instead of the cold garage. Thankfully my annuals are cold-tolerant pansies, snapdragons, and English ivy. The perennials are all spring plants too: Pasque-flower (Pulsatilla), English Cowslip (Primula veris), and Periwinkle (Vinca minor). After a warm night to thaw indoors they’re doing fine and are back outside. The inherent resilience of these little beauties brings me more reason to give thanks.

The morning dog walk was also an opportunity for thankfulness. My Nikki-girl is a delightful ‘rescue-dog’ who constantly warms my heart. I give thanks for adopting her. Her joyful enthusiasm for the ball I throw makes me laugh out loud. I am thankful to have an off-leash dog park to play in, only one block from our place.

Upon returning home I felt inspired to pull on my gloves and do some weeding. The rain had stopped for a while and I felt inspired. The moist soil would make it easy to pull little grass clumps or dandelion sprouts that have been daring up between the perennials. As I got to my task, a rhythm began: balance on stepping stones, brush back mulch, grasp weed base, twist and pull, toss to pile. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

I was appreciating all of it. The birds being animated all around me, flying overhead from tree to tree, singing as I worked. Disturbed worms stretching out fully as they slowly hurried to escape my ministrations to the garden bed. Discoveries of tiny perennial survivors of this Zone 3 garden, pressing their precious green leaves out of the ground. I just kept weeding and weeding, loving every minute of it.

Amidst this deep gratitude and peace, the words of seventeenth-century Brother Lawrence came to mind. I couldn’t remember the quote exactly but the essence was, I do not even pick up a straw from the ground but for the love of God. I felt like I was weeding that way: every movement was for the love of God.

When I came inside, I researched to find the correct quote from Brother Lawrence. In the end I found that one plus another by him that also resonates with me. There are more quotes here about gratitude to share today. I hope you enjoy.

May your May Day be joyous, and filled with reasons to say ‘thank you’.

“We can do little things for God; I turn the cake that is frying on the pan for the love of Him, and that done, if there is nothing else to call me, I prostrate myself in worship before Him, Who has given me grace to work; afterwards I rise happier than a king. It is enough for me to pick but a straw from the ground for the love of God.” ~ Brother Lawrence 

“Men invent means and methods of coming at God’s love, they learn rules and set up devices to remind them of that love, and it seems like a world of trouble to bring oneself into the consciousness of God’s presence. Yet it might be so simple. Is it not quicker and easier just to do our common business wholly for the love of him?” ~ Brother Lawrence

“The best things are nearest: breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of God just before you.” ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

“Great Spirit, I begin the month of May filled with gratitude for the increase in the light that brings forth life from my soul and from the earth. May my heart be fertile ground for the sprouting of your Godseed, that I may be of loving service to my family, my community, and all beings.” ~ Joan Borysenko (Pocketful of Miracles)