Thursday, November 25, 2004

"There are some things you can control and most things you can't. And the ones you can't will far outweigh those that you can..." In many of my older adult conversations with my father before his passing, this phrase would come up quite often. It was as if was a lesson that I needed to learn over and over again. And truth be known, it is still a lesson I'm learning, my friend.

There remains a reoccurring theme this week. And it is basically this: We each are in charge of only our actions, not the fruits of those actions. Our actions, as virtuous as they may be, unfortunately may fall on barren soil and deaf ears... but not always. It has come to be my belief that it's not our responsibility to harvest, but simply to plant, plant and then plant some more. Plant deeds of compassion, virtue and hope... and then hope, trust and believe in the Best.

I have a brother in Iraq serving as a Chaplain with a Marine division outside of Fallujah. What I wouldn't give to have him home right now, safe and sound. But that is not within my control. I have a mother-in-law that is slowly losing physical life to a dreaded disease. What I wouldn't give to have her live well beyond her years and see our children in college. And it is also out of my control. But even in all my lack of control, there is still so much I can do... so much we can all do. It is my responsibility and privilege and gift to give hope to my brother in his work and journey, regardless of the outcome. And it is my responsibility and privilege and gift to give compassion and mercy and hope to my mother-in-law as well; for it is only her physical life that is waning, not her spiritual life. You too, my friend, have situations that are well outside the realm of your control, but you also have a responsibility, privilege and hope to plant - in yourself and others.

We may very well be the seeders, but it is the Grand Creator that is the Master Harvester - it is what I refer to as the "grand partnership." We reach out, we love, we help, we empathize, we offer mercy, we provide comfort... and then we offer those up to the mysterious and powerful hands of the Grand Creator in all our hope and trust. It is this Grand Creator to which I offer up my brother and mother-in-law, in all my hope and trust in the journey that lies before them.

On this Thanksgiving Day, we are reminded to kneel in humbleness on all that we may have control over in our life and gaze in awe at all that we do not have control over, but trust, trust, trust... for it is the Grand Creator that takes our simple seeds of action and grows the most delicious fruit.

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