For this Thanksgiving weekend, I offer some words from Brother David Stendl-Rast (b. 1926):
"The root of joy is gratefulness... In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.”Yours in faith,
“Look closely and you will find that people are happy because they are grateful. The opposite of gratefulness is just taking everything for granted.”
“We are never more than one grateful thought away from peace of heart.”
“Gratefulness is the key to a happy life that we hold in our hands, because if we are not grateful, then no matter how much we have we will not be happy -- because we will always want to have something else or something more.”
“Everything is a gift. The degree to which we are awake to this truth is a measure of our gratefullness, and gratefullness is a measure of our aliveness.”
“People who have faith in life are like swimmers who entrust themselves to a rushing river. They neither abandon themselves to its current nor try to resist it. Rather, they adjust their every movement to the watercourse, use it with purpose and skill, and enjoy the adventure.”
“There is a wave of gratefulness because people are becoming aware how important this is and how this can change our world. It can change our world in immensely important ways, because if you're grateful, you're not fearful, and if you're not fearful, you're not violent. If you're grateful, you act out of a sense of enough and not of a sense of scarcity, and you are willing to share. If you are grateful, you are enjoying the differences between people, and you are respectful to everybody, and that changes this power pyramid under which we live.”
“One single gift acknowledged in gratefulness has the power to dissolve the ties of our alienation.”
“In moments of surprise we catch at least a glimpse of the joy to which gratefulness opens the door.”
“Meaning springs from belonging.”
“Whatever life gives to you, you can respond with joy. Joy is the happiness that does not depend on what happens. It is the grateful response to the opportunity that life offers you at this moment”
“The greatest gift one can give is thanksgiving. In giving gifts, we give what we can spare, but in giving thanks we give ourselves.”
“As we learn to give thanks for all of life and death, for all of this given world of ours, we find a deep joy. It is the joy of trust, the joy of faith in the faithfulness at the heart of all things. It is the joy of gratefulness in touch with the fullness of life.”
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ICYMI (In Case You Missed It)
The Nov 21 worship service, "Gratitude for Gratitude: Gratitude, Grace, and Grief" will soon be posted on our Youtube Channel: HERE.
You can read the text of "Gratitude, Grace, and Grief" in two parts at The Liberal Pulpit:
The Worldwide numbers are not reliable, and likely are greatly underestimating the actual prevalence of Covid-19. These numbers may nevertheless give us an indication of trends.
Average New Cases per Day, worldwide:
Peak week (Apr 23-29): 828,613
Lowest since peak (Jun 15-21): 361,003
Highest since the June low (Aug 24-30): 660,604
Two weeks ago (Nov 4-10): 473,795
Last week (Nov 11-17): 508,137
This week (Nov 18-24): 562,500*
*Since Oct 17, new cases per day have increased 40% (an average increase of 0.9% per day for 38 days).
Average New Cases per Day, US:
Peak week (Jan 5-11): 256,107
Lowest since peak: (Jun 15-21): 11,981
Highest since the June low (Aug 27 - Sep 2): 167,598
Two weeks ago (Nov 4-10): 77,628
Last week (Nov 11-17): 88,545
This week (Nov 18-24): 95,884*
*Since Nov 3, new cases per day have increased 35% (an average increase of 1.4% per day for 21 days).
Average New Cases per Day, Westchester County, NY:
Highest week of 2020 (Mar 23-29): 949
Lowest week, post-peak, of 2020 (Aug 19-25): 29
Highest week of 2021 (Jan 6-12): 861
Lowest week of 2021 (Jun 17-23): 11
Highest since Jun low (Aug 15-21): 212
Two weeks ago (Nov 4-10): 81
Last week (Nov 11-17): 129
This week (Nov 18-24): 156*
*New cases per day (as a moving 7-day average) are now 2.4 times what they were on Oct 24 (an average increase of 2.8% per day for 31 days).
Average Deaths per Day, worldwide:
Peak week (Jan 21-27): 14,818
Lowest since peak (Jun 29 - Jul 5): 7,694
Highest since the July low (Aug 19-25): 10,313
Two weeks ago (Nov 4-10): 7,171
Last week (Nov 11-17): 7,082
This week (Nov 18-24): 7,184*
*Since Oct 28, deaths have been relatively flat, staying between 6,922 and 7,230 for the last 27 days.
Average Deaths per Day, US:
Peak week (Jan 10-16): 3,553
Lowest since peak (Jun 30 - Jul 6): 244
Highest since the July low (Sep 17-23): 2,008
Two weeks ago (Nov 4-10): 1,171
Last week (Nov 11-17): 997
This week (Nov 18-24): 1,067*
*Since Nov 13, deaths have been flat, staying between 997 and 1,069 for the last 11 days.
TOTAL Deaths per WEEK, Westchester County, NY:
Highest week of 2020 (Apr 9-15): 365
Lowest week, post-peak, of 2020 (Sep 27 - Oct 3): 0
Highest week of 2021 (Jan 28 - Feb 3): 74
Lowest weeks of 2021 (Jun 16-22; Jun 28-Jul 14; Jul 18-27, and Oct 6-19): 0
Highest since May 22 (Sep 10-16): 9
Two weeks ago (Nov 4-10):2
Last week (Nov 11-17):2
Last 10 days (Nov 15-24):0*
In the last 24 days (Nov 1-24), Westchester County has seen 5 deaths from Covid, and none since Nov 14.
Worldwide, new cases have been increasing for the last 5.5 weeks (38 days). The deaths, however, have stayed essentially flat for the last 4 weeks.
In the U.S., new cases per day (7-day average) have been increasing for the last 3+ weeks (i.e., since Nov 3) -- and have increased 35% in the last 21 days. Deaths, however, declined 47% in 57 days from Sep 23 to Nov 13, and since Nov 13 have been flat.
The US fully-vaccinated rate reached 59.1% as of Nov 24. The last percentage point gain took 24 days. The percentage point before that took 19 days.
Meanwhile, the Westchester County fully-vaccinated rate is 71.5% (as of Nov 24) -- up 1 percentage point in the last 21 days. The percentage point before that took just 15 days.
Winter is coming: be careful out there!
Practice of the Week
From Norman Fischer’s Training in Compassion: Training #2 is See Everything As a Dream.
Seeing everything as a dream will coax you into relief -- the same relief that comes when you wake up from that nightmare and you realize that the dire situation you seemed to be in a moment ago is actually OK, it was just a dream. Your anxiety disappears, and you immediately lighten up and relax. Even in the worst situations, you can say: "Yes, this is terrible, this is not what I wanted, not what I'd hoped for, not what I'd worked for, maybe even what I had feared. But also it's not that bad. It is like a dream. Soon it will be in the past. Maybe I don't need to be so worked up about it. Maybe I can just figure out how to deal with it without that extra measure of anxiety and freak-out."
This is not a gimmick. Everything really is like a dream. When you apply this in your daily experience, it begins to change things for you. When you find that you are upset or angry, you can remember to see everything as a dream, and your mind will snap into a more alert present and you will find that you can lighten up to some extent. Everything is passing; every problem, no matter how tough is already solved, even as it's developing. For the full post, see: See Everything As a Dream.
See also our SPIRITUAL PRACTICE DIRECTORY
Images: David Stendl-Rast by Diego Ortiz Mugica