Love, Death and Giving Thanks

This past month I read three books and I’ve started on a fourth. The titles will give you some idea of the things of greatest interest to me at this time in my life. I read a book called Bounce. It’s all about rebounding from tough times. It’s a fast read, a good book with sound advice for business owners or individuals who need to turn around and head in a more productive direction. The second book I picked up because a friend of mine had worked with the author. Her name, Kay Sprinkel Grace, her book,  Over Goal! It’s a terrific book with great suggestions for a fundraising professional or any person seriously involved in non-for-profit philanthropy. The third book is called Love & Death, by Forrest Church, and was also recommended by a friend. In this month’s message from the7thinning blog, it is this last book I would like to tell you about.

Ironically, in the past six months I have lost three friends and business acquaintances, all unexpected deaths, each person was in my age group. Vern, a highly respected pediatrician, Bruce, a marketing/advertising professional and George, the owner of an executive search firm. Isn’t it strange that at the time of another person’s death, we reflect on their life?  It is a brief reflection looked upon through tinted lens.  Because at the same time, we acknowledge ourselves, and begin to recognize our own mortality. And then, consequently, we begin to question our own values and lifestyle.

As I reflect on the lives of these three friends, I am reminded of the countless hours they devoted to serving others through their chosen occupations. I’m also reminded of  how each person sought and found some balance in life through either long travels  or just simple weekend hikes. Although each of these men died at an early age, I must believe they are resting in peace. They lived their lives as servant leaders. What more can be done?

The author, Forest Church, whom I mentioned earlier, writes this advice….”want what you have, do what you can. Be you who are.”

For many, this past year was a financial crisis. Some people lost their jobs, some companies lost customers and business revenue, some non-profit organizations lost donors and investors. For others, the grief of lost loved ones was a higher form of crisis. At these times, the normal human response is to have a heightened sense of life’s fragility.

If we are fortunate enough to survive a time of crisis and come through it with a renewed commitment to be of service to others, we are indeed blessed from above. Let’s recognize that for all of us, our lives will end in the middle of the story. Life seems to last forever but really it’s over in a flash. So, we need to prioritize our unfinished business. We need to make peace with ourselves and loved ones. We need to “sanctify what we are grateful for.”

Now, is a good time to be grateful. Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Prayers

“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”
– Meister Eckhart

“We sanctify all we are grateful for.”
– Anthony DeMello SJ

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