But it's harvest time, time to find and feast on the goodness this year has brought. In order to keep putting one foot in front of the other, don't we in some sense make a perpetual vow to ourselves to appreciate the harvest? To notice gratefully what has fed us through a hard year? - and to celebrate the windfalls that have surprised us?
My year included glad surprises like our daughter's move to our neighborhood and the bishop of Rome urging and living with contagious gospel joy. The year let me appreciate ever more deeply that the sisters on LCWR's staff are truly wise women. It is an honor to walk in solidarity with them into the future from which God is coming to us all.
Like me, do you find that much of the harvest of joys is unexceptional stuff, too simple to make it into Christmas letters? A new recipe that delights someone. The colors of the leaves in spring, summer, and fall. The strong outstretched arms of trees in winter. Regular meetings with people who strengthen me, challenge me, and love me. Prayer and Eucharist that unite us in staying alert to the presence and the coming of God.
These are the harvests that sustain me.
And I guess part of the harvest in a hard year is a wry and grateful smile that we made it through. We discovered in ourselves the stamina to keep putting one foot in front of the other, even when (as in Thomas Merton's beautiful prayer) we had no idea where we were going.
Even in hard years, genuine joy can fill our Thanksgiving. I hope yours is happy!