Sunday, November 21, 2010

We Thank You

Several years ago, when I was the pastor at Pilot Mountain Friends Meeting, I wanted to write an entire message that was a poem. It's Thanksgiving again, So I offer it to you, my readers, as a Thanksgiving Gift.

We Thank You

For the vast space that extends beyond our ability to see; to send and to listen;

For the unspeakable beauty that glimmers mysteriously out there in places never before seen by us;

For the particles and waves that we use to send images back. The pictures riding like silver saddles on golden horses;

And for the shimmering beauty that we will never see because it exists solely for your pleasure;

For the strange and wonderful sounds that we hear coming from eternal places that pop and squeal in the language of creation even as it happens;

For the depth of the blackness punctured with the brightness of stars so distant that we see the light from them even after they die;

For the startling size of a clear winter night and the array of starry sequins that you have stitched onto the velvet of it all;

For the predictability of that sparkling curtain whose movement undulates with the power of your very being;

For the motion of the planets and suns and sizzling comets that can be measured so precisely we can know who you are by knowing the equations;

For our single moon that teaches us about the timing of your work when the seasons turn `round and `round like a ballroom dancer in a rustling dress;

For the pureness of its reflected light' a mirror held above us to remind us of the coming day;

For its absence that tells us that all things come and go just as you desire;

For the brilliance of our own tiny sun that glowers and burns with power that we can only imagine;

For the little blue marble that we live on that is positioned so perfectly that we get just what we need from our Sun, no more and no less;

For the coming cycle that tips us just far enough away to allow our trees and insects time to rest;

For the fall season when we
your cleansing breath color our world and then blow it all away for a fresh beginning

We thank you:

For this planet on which we live out our lives;

For the gleaming ice that caps both ends that supplies us with cool winds, unique wildlife and places to achieve our wildest dreams;

For the seals and the penguins and the fat blubbery walruses that bark and tangle themselves in slippery dances, humping themselves along icy ledges;

For huge polar bears that remind us that their world cannot be changed at our whim;

For frozen tundra that seems so hard and cold to the touch but is so delicate and priceless to the millions of living things that depend on its shallow life;

For the swirling slapping seas that surround those frozen caps and their foreboding turbulence that cuts continents into passes for our ships to 'round their ends;

For the grand expanse of oceans that are the salt of our existence and for the flavor of it when lick our lips after a cool splash in the surf;

For the churning power of those oceans as the sky and water clash in their expanse to move our weather across the planet that keeps us alive;

For the mystery of the depths that hold secrets which we are only beginning to understand;

For the darkness of those depths that cause us to wonder, search and probe like children playing in a pond;

For the wonderfully strange creatures that live in that darkness that create their own light, protect themselves from the great pressures of the deep and beckon us to join them in search of the meaning of you;

For the blueness and the grayness and the white caps that toss our imagination and reflect the sun when it rises in the morning East and slips into its Western night;

For the mauve, orange, blue, rose and a million rainbows of colors that the trio of sun, sky and sea sings to our muses;

For the inspiration of the muses who show us those hues and teach us to strike chords of color on canvass, hum symphonies in verse and open our most creative minds to your eternal creativity;

We thank you:

For the great bodies that plunge beneath the thrashing surface of the sea to inhale beings that are tinier than they are large;

For their wondrous songs that echo from the walls of water and into our wires and onto slivers of tape for us to hear;

For the sweet milk pumped from salty breasts and into their young who breath the air that we breath and share their youth with us;

For the myriad of other creatures that we swim with, wonder at, look to for the secrets of this world yet unknown to us;

For oysters, shrimp, white, blue and red fish. for sharks, octopus, slithering eels, shimmering smelt, soaking, saturated sponges and coral that makes the trees for their briny world;

For the weeds that wave in the currents and hide scampering life forms yet unnamed by the meager efforts of our researchers;

For the waves that crash and hiss on sandy shores, roar on rocky cliffs and seep into brackish swamps;

For the muck that the water and the earth makes in those swamps and the abounding energy that lurks there waiting for seed, egg or squiggling larvae to hatch and feed on its potential;

For the sour air rising from them that lifts a multitude of wings bearing singer, hunter and others that peck the earth clean;

For the birds that build nests as big as trucks and as tiny as a child's hand;

For the songs and cries and thumping of them that float and flitter between trees and blue sky;

For the wonder that they create in our children and the thrill of their acrobatics and plunging with saber talons ripping food from screaming life;

For the sharpness of their eyes, the whisper of their feathers and the grace of their flight;

For the mystery of the night hunters and the running scattering clowns with feathers fluffed in agitation;

For the fumbling of their young teetering the first fluttering flight;

For the brilliance of long legged flamingos, sassy rain forest parrots and twittering cardinals in eastern woodlands.

We thank you:

For the towering friends of the fliers that the Indians called, "standing people;"

For their ceaseless breathing that loans us oxygen that reddens our blood and carries us onward;

For the reaching stretching limbs that the winds tease on gentle winter days;

For the leaves and needles that clothe their majesty beyond the wardrobe of human royalty;

For the shade that they cast on sultry days when the air is thick with the heat of Summer;

For the sweet fragrance that reminds us of a time when it alone was the note filling the nostrils of our ancestors;

For the crunchy walks that the trees give us when their leaves fall and the crushing under our feet is hollow against the cold air;

For the relentless growing that they do against the odds of weather too wet, too dry, too cold or too hot;

For the history that they record in their rings teaching us about the climates of their lives and how it was when -

For the things that they have given us; rafts, canoes, boats ships wheels, levers, walls for houses - roofs over tiny cradles;

For tools, clothes, twine, paper and an infinite list of things that we must have to be - just to be;

For their reaching roots that suck nourishment from the soil and unlike us, give it back by holding it together;

For their tenacity on mountain sides twisting and clinging seeking life in tiny cracks where no life could be expected;

For their feet soaking in water with knees lumping above the brackish blackness of the tea that they brew swampy and bitter;

For the moaning music of the wind moving through their limbs and the clacking of twigs frozen in ice;

For the crashing of them in death as they tear themselves from the sky and push through neighbors limbs to the earth where they will rot;

For their rotting that returns them to the soil and to the insects that will live on their pulpy flesh for another generation;

We thank you:

For the creeping life that provides us with life;

For their insatiable hunger that cleans the forest floor returning the minerals and nutrients to the soil for the young trees;

For their housekeeping that cleans the bones of death and sanitizes our world;

For their adaptability that returns them to us regardless of our plastic efforts to be rid of them;

For their reminder to us that your creation goes on in spite of our opinions and prejudice;

For their sticky feet that carries them to places where others can eat them;

For their sticky webs stretched between rocks and trees, houses and barns;

For their feeding on each other to maintain a scheme of balance that we cannot destroy no matter how hard we try;

For their feeding on us to remind us that we are a part of this creation and not separate from it in our sterile homes, offices and cars;

For the tiny wings that are more delicate than lace and lighter than air;

For the persistent gathering and buzzing that carries pollen between our plants and honey to our tongues;

For the flitting and flying that amuses us in the heat of a Summer afternoon when these things should be amusing;

For the flash and splash of a bass stretching into the air to reach some flying delight;

For their stinging that gives us pain and suffering that we may better know peace and tranquility;

For their hairy, many legged ugliness that teaches us that you and only you are the best judge of beauty;

For their cycles of life that comes with the warming of the sun and the growing of green things;

For the colors of the butterflies, the iridescence of dragonflies and the flash of lightning bugs in the night;

For the rich diversity of life numbered in the millions that point to the power of your creation;

We thank You:

For the creatures that like to live with us;

For their mewing and purring and affection when we need it the most;

For the snuggling warmth of their bodies and the patience with our children as they are lugged around and dressed like dolls;

For the barking and growling and courage when they are urged to protect when your care for us surges through them.

For the utter exuberance that pounds through us when their hooves fly us across meadows;

For the nobility of those who love us in spite of our cruelty and carelessness with their training, health and breeding;

For the chirping and singing and squeaking of all kinds of pets whose mysteries draw us into your bosom for comfort.

For the mooing, munching, snorting and clucking others who live only to give us their meat, milk, eggs and skin.

For their patience and endurance as we stuff them with hormones and chemicals to make them abnormally larger for our own arrogance and greed.

We thank you:

For all of this and for the time that it takes to thank you because with each utterance of thanks we breath in and breath out;

For air and the sun and the night and the stars and the morning that comes one after another until it is time to breath no more;

For the little children that replace us like the seedlings fed by the fallen trees;

For their running and flitting from thing to thing like birds in the woodlands;

For their soaring on hope and imagination like raptors on thermals high in the blue expanse of sky;

For their buzzing and stinging our quietude like mosquitos on a spring evening

We thank you:

For their questions that show us the depths of their minds like the endlessness of space;

For young adults because they are so sexual and aroused to life with a renewing that humans need to keep going on;

For challenging us and questioning us to see if the thing that has always been done is the right thing;

For parents whose singularity brings a focus of love that nurtures the young ones through the tribulation of growth;

For the solitude of parenting that reminds us that we are individuals;

For the pleasure of growing old in this kaleidoscope experience here on earth;

For the exhaustion of old age when the peace of a hard days work feels good in our bones;

For the humor of old people who know that everything is not really as serious as it seems;

For the ones that lie in their graves and the space that they gave us when they moved on like the old trees who tumble to the floor of the wilderness;

For their memories that teach us and nurture us and remind us about how good it has been. How good it is to be - just to be;

We thank you;

For all of this and for the time that it takes to thank you because with each utterance of thanks we breath in and breath out;

For air and the sun and the night and the stars and the morning that comes one after another until it is time to breath no more;

We thank you;

For You, Almighty Spirit of God, who bathes us in love; who lifts us like birds and carries us like thick healthy fish in the currents of life;

For You in who we swim - in whom we live

Thank you.

Ken Bradstock


At Sunday, 21 November, 2010 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is just beautiful, Ken. Thank you for thinking to send it.

Helen Logan


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