The sky filled with clouds this afternoon, and the wind picked up. The temperature is dropping, as this autumn tease continues.
It's a good day for soup, and I've just come from making a pot of beef-vegetable. All that chopping and slicing gave me a lot of time for thinking, and a lot of time for thanking.
I used up the last of the roast I made the day Meg died. She came into the kitchen as soon as I opened the package of raw meat to sear and put into the oven. She sat right at my feet when I took the roast out of the oven, and right beside John while we ate dinner that night, hoping – successfully, as it turned out – for morsels of hot meat from his hand.
As I prepared the left-over roast for the soup I thought of Meg, and wished she were in the kitchen with me, hoping for a morsel of meat to drop her way.
A friend who has been living with cancer has begun the process of dying from it. It doesn't look as if there will be another reprieve; but she is determined to live as much as she can til she dies.
I slice and dice the garlic, the onion, the carrots, and I think of her, wishing there would be more time for dinners out, wishing there would be more time to hear of her travels.
I think about loved ones who've died, and began a litany of thanksgiving for them. I'm thankful to have known them, thankful to have been part of their lives.
I'm thankful to know that death doesn't win in the end; love wins.
Some Sunday I'll take my place in a church pew, and it will be the last Sunday I'm there. Maybe I'll know that somehow, but more likely I won't. I hope, though, that I am aware of how precious, how lovely it is to be alive that day. I hope I have a thankful heart; I hope I'm completely present in those moments.
Making soup requires a kind of mindfulness. As I work with the vegetables I admire their shapes, their colors, their smells, the way they feel as I work with them. I think of the people who planted and grew them, who drew them from the ground, who shipped and sold them. I think of them with thanksgiving, and I think of the people who will gather round my table with thanksgiving. I think of those who came before, and those who will come after, with thanksgiving.
An attitude of thanksgiving is an antidote to mourning. It doesn't take away the sting of death, but it eases the pain somehow. On an autumn afternoon as darkness fills the house, thanksgiving is a bit of light and lightness that does my heart good.
The soup is warm now, and fills the house with an enticing aroma, just as thanksgiving fills our lives with the fragrance of God.