As we approach our national day of Thanksgiving, a holiday which for most of us will be very different this year, I feel myself to be blessed in the present moment of uncertain futures. Living with a sense of fluidity and lack of control over what life will be like in the coming months has led me to pay more attention to the things I do have control over, especially how I approach the present moment.
The enforced solitude of the pandemic has enabled me to spend more time in reflecting on my blessings, which are many, on the ways in which God is leading me, and on ways I can respond to God’s generosity.
The gospel for Thanksgiving Day is the account of the ten lepers cleansed by Jesus. Only the Samaritan returns to him to give thanks. The others, rejoicing in their newfound health, simply overlook the fact that it is Jesus who restored them. How easy it is in good times to forget the healing presence of God’s Spirit in our life.
Heading out with my camera, I’m aware of the things I can’t control–the weather, the quality of the light, the availability of interesting subjects, the presence of people, etc. What I can control is my camera and where I go–the camera settings, the composition, the natural beauty of the area I visit, the time of day, how long I stay with a scene, etc. In giving myself over to the experience of the beauty around me in this way, I feel a sense of gratitude to the God who calls me to be in some small way a partner in the divine act of creation.
“Let all your works give you thanks, O Lord, and let your faithful ones bless you.” (Psalm 145:10)