Musings of an Irish-American

Sometimes I think about stuff, and then I write it here…

Monthly Archives: November 2009

His fingerprints are everywhere

Much like every other Thanksgiving of my life, I was at church this morning with my family. It was a kind of weird experience only because this was the first Thanksgiving mass ¬†where I wasn’t part of the music ministry because my very dear music director at that particular parish retired at the beginning of October. However, not to be one who fights change, I decided to give my contact info to the new director and offer my services and help for Christmas; we’ll see how that goes.

The homily was what caught my attention today, as our parish priest talked about (surprise, surprise) being thankful. However, he took a very different approach to it as he began. He talked about how easy it is to be negative, and how deceivingly pervasive it can be. Rather than embracing a new day, many people are negative about their mindset throughout their day. And don’t think that I’m soapboxing here, because I can be just as negative as the next person unfortunately.

What’s funny about it is that some people just assume that I am, and always will be, a very negative person. I’ve discussed this with friends of mine, and pointed out to them that, as negative as I can be, it’s mostly in the short-term. And, in a gut reaction, yes my mindset will probably be negative (or bitingly sarcastic, the two aren’t mutually exclusive), but, in the grand scheme of things, I always seem to maintain a relatively healthy, positive mindset (I am a Cubs fan after all :-D). I think the one thing that we can all do is to approach our negativity and not let it 1) overwhelm us and 2) pervade the attitudes of others.

When we get up in the morning, don’t think about how awful the day is going to be, but see it in terms of its potential to be great, and just the fact that waking up to a new day in and of itself is a blessing. The title of this post is from a George Strait song entitled “I Saw God Today”, and I realized today that it has a lot of personal significance, because, as the lyrics say, I don’t look as often as I should. So, on this wonderful holiday where we are thankful for all of the great things in our lives, learn to embrace the difficulties, as I leave you with these few lines from “I Saw God Today”.

I’ve been to church
I’ve read the book
I know He’s here
But I don’t look
Near as often as I should
Yeah, I know I should
His fingerprints are everywhere
I just slowed down to stop and stare
Opened my eyes and man I swear
I saw God today

Happy Thanksgiving!

Best,
MJH

Advertisements

great blessings

For the flowers are great blessings.
For the flowers have their angels even the words of God’s Creation.
For the flower glorifies God and the root parries the adversary.
For there is a language of flowers.
For flowers are peculiarly the poetry of Christ.

These are lines from a stanza of Jubilate Agno by Christopher Smart, which is set to music by Benjamin Britten in his work “Rejoice in the Lamb”. I had the great pleasure of singing the tenor solo set to this text in the DePauw Chamber Singers’ concert last night. Looking at this text, I realized the beauty and simplicity of what it means, and how we can use it to reflect on our lives.

In this late Fall season, as everything begins to fade away around us- the growth of Spring, the air of Summer- it’s very easy to become brought down by the fleeting sense of the season. And yet, it is in this time that I realize that the flowers are great blessings. It’s one of those perspectives where you don’t really realize how much you miss something until it is gone. Sometimes we need that realization to put our lives into perspective. Only once have we had that realization can we actually cope with any kind of change.

In their own way, flowers can represent Christ’s life to us: as they begin to fade in this Fall season and eventually succumb to Winter’s cold, we do not fear that the flowers will not come back in the growth and renewal of Spring and Summer. So also can we take hope in the death of Christ- His sacrifice was for our sins, and we cannot fear that He will not come back at some time for us.

Of course, I don’t want to get too heavily liturgical (I’ll leave that to Mr. Fox), but my point is that we shouldn’t lose hope in any situation we face. With regards to the relationships we have with others, we should always trust that the seeds we’ve planted in terms of our commitment and care for that relationship will always bloom and grow, even if we hit our patches of Fall and Winter.

In the last episode of Series 2 of the British version of “The Office”, manager David Brent says, “Life is just a series of peaks and troughs and you don’t know whether you’re in a trough until you’re climbing out, or on a peak until you’re coming down.” And, as unfortunate as it is that we have to experience coming down the peak or coming out of the trough, that’s really where life lies. Life isn’t a series of disjointed moments; it’s the experience between those moments that define our lives that make life what it is. Sometimes, you just have to be able to see past the sunset and see the horizon before you, knowing that the sun is going to bring you the hope of a new day.

-MJH