Simple Gifts

The past few days have been both exhilarating and exhausting. I cannot fully recap in the brief words of a blog post what it means to bring a project like Turkeys of Thanks through to its conclusion, including the distribution of turkeys and “fixings” to 256 people on a sunny and brisk autumn afternoon with hugs, and shared cups of cocoa, and community. There has also been the wedding of a friend, and movie night with my daughter on the long awaiting opening night of Mockingjay, Part 1. That was all after a week of celebrating, and planning, and teaching, and simply doing the steady, hard work of following through on details to allow things happen seamlessly.

At one point this afternoon, I found myself sitting by myself in a space that is sacred to me. I intended to just sit and be still. But, I started weeping. Once the first tear formed, there was no holding back the floodgates of my emotion. My tears were exhilaration, and exhaustion. They were gratitude and supplication for those for and with whom I serve. Admittedly, there was a good mix of uncertainty and frustration in my tears, too. I have been given a vision of the work of my soul, and I have been given transformative opportunities to live into that vision. I have listened and said “Yes” even when I doubted I had the skills or the strength to carry it out. That risk has transformed me, and is continually shaping and forming me. But inevitably, there are roadblocks, too. At moments like some that I experienced today, it can feel like a wet blanket is squelching the fire in my soul. Maybe my tears were an unconscious attempt…or Divine gift…to redirect that water to keep the fire burning in my soul.

If so, it worked.

I have been reflective all day since that earlier outpouring. Tonight, the background music playing on the dining room stereo…which we refer to as our household soundtrack…hit on a version of Simple Gifts.

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.

Yes, I thought. That’s really the essence of it all. I found the flame in my soul rekindling.

I have been thinking on these words tonight, pausing to fully take them in. I thought I might relate my own translated version of simple gifts…my prose might not fit the tune, but it is how these words of a simple, beautiful, antique song still resonate with me today:

It’s a gift to be ourselves, to be known and loved exactly as we are.
It’s a gift to use the skills and abilities with which we are blessed,
and a gift to be free to explore and uncover new strengths, too.

Unevitably, we will risk and fail. Unquestionably, we will fall whether from our own exhaustion, or when someone trips us, or when something unforeseen gets in our way.

But that doesn’t mean we stop. We keep going.

We are renewed when the One which is Greater than we are sets us back on our feet, and embraces us and wipes away the dust from the fall and reminds us that we were formed and called not just for one thing, but for many.

Others share our dance, reflect our love, and inspire us to journey more deeply, more fully, more communally. We do all that we do for them, too…not just for our own needs and desires and wants. Even the dance of our rising and falling inspires those around us, whether or not we can see.

We are resurrected, unashamed, being formed to our deepest soul perfection with each step that we take in this dance of our lives.

Our delight is that we are never alone.

And we are never done.

This is grace.

About harasprice

Professor of Social Work and Priest in The Episcopal Church, parent, teacher, learner, writer, advocate, and grateful traveller along this journey through life
This entry was posted in Poetry and verse, quotations and reflections, work and life and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Simple Gifts

  1. Cindy Larsen says:

    Beautiful words that traveled through my soul to speak clearly. Thank you for sharing. I have enjoyed following you since the summer sometime and am trusting that our paths will cross in RVa someday. I love reading your reflections.

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