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When Gratitude is Difficult

I sit perched upon my mountain high, surveying the land below.
How peaceful, how serene.
I love it so.

As I ponder the meaning of Thanksgiving,
I wonder, “What does it really mean to be grateful?”
What is the Heart of gratitude?
When am I most compelled to reach into the deepest part of myself and there, too, find gratitude?

It is easy in times when everything flows smoothly.
And that is wonderful, indeed.

But even more, to be grateful for the hard times,
That is when gratitude is most difficult.

Can I find the gifts in the sorrow?
How can I be thankful for a thousand losses?
All the times I felt unloved.
All the times I tried so hard, and success eluded me.
All the times I thought I was going in the right direction
And one more time, I arrived at the end of a road where the sign read, “Dead End.”

How can I be grateful for that?

I look deeper inside, and deeper yet still
I wind my way through the gauzy maze.

Home.
What is Home?

My Home, my true Home, lies in the heart of The Beloved.
He reminds me that I am beautiful in his eyes.
He holds me when I am scared.
He encourages me when I am shy.
He lavishes me with gifts of the spirit.
He brings me challenges so big that I either sink or soar.
He connects me with people who have hearts of gold
And sorrows all of their own.
He gives me opportunities to be of service.
He reminds me that receiving requires the strength to be vulnerable.
He holds me back when I’m eager to dive in when He knows the water is too rough.

Sometimes I get so frustrated with Him because I have mind of my own.
He cautions me. He disciplines me. I stamp my feet.
He makes me do my homework long past the days when school should have been over.

Sometimes, I am so weary.
Sometimes, I am worn out.
Sometimes, I give up.
And then I look deeper
And deeper yet still,
And I find Him once again, my Beloved, holding out his arms to me
Inviting Intimacy.

Intimacy with my Beloved.
The Beloved.
My one true Beloved when all around me squalls in tempest.

I turn to Him,
And He to me,
And we gaze into each other’s eyes,
one to the other,
And all the world falls away.
All the striving and stress.
All the worries and fears.
All the goals and aspirations that define me
Melt away like butter sliding off a hot knife.

All alone with my Beloved
And He with me.
Inside.
Inside, He awaits for me
All the time
Waiting, waiting, and watching
Patiently,
For me to find my way Home once again.

My Beloved.
My best friend.
Jesus.

Benita A. Esposito, MA, LPC
11/22/12

Background
This prose poem sprang forth after listening to the poet Dana Gioia interviewed on National Public Radio, Asheville, NC on Thanksgiving morning 2012.  Paraphrasing, Mr. Gioia said, “If you can accept your sorrows, they can become your gifts.  Find the gifts hidden in the sorrows.”

For the last few days, I had been contemplating sending a special mailing on Thanksgiving Day.  I wanted to write on this very same theme, and I just happened to turn on the radio at the precise time of this interview. That’s how the Holy Spirit works.

I love hearing and reading others poems, and I love writing and reading my own.  I don’t have confidence in my skill as a poet although I’ve written poetry for 30+ years.  Most of the time, when I contemplate writing poetry, the inner critic’s voice scolds me, “You can’t write. It’s won’t turn out well.  You can’t do this, so don’t bother.”  After listening to this litany again today, I almost started a google search to find someone else’s poem to share with my friends on Thanksgiving Day. But another inner voice coaxed me, “Just sit and write. You can do this. See what comes out.” So I sat and wrote, and line after line flowed just like it usually does when I stop my busyness long enough to listen. With a little editing, this beautiful gift came into full living color to bless us today, and for many years to come. This is the kind of writing, the mutual creation of The Holy Spirit and Benita Esposito in intimate partnership, that I love the most.

God bless you and your family on this Thanksgiving Day and all year long.

Special thanks to:

(1) Dana Gioia for his inspiration this morning on National Public Radio.  Visit http://www.danagioia.net/poems/

(2) Father John Rice, my favorite spiritual teacher who encourages me to develop a relationship with Jesus as Intimate Friend. Thank you, John.

Copyright 2012. All rights reserved. The Esposito Institute, Inc.

For permission to reprint, please use the contact page at www.Flourishing-Lives.com

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