Thursday, November 2, 2017

On Gratitude with Karen Eastlund

Hello and welcome to this month's installment of Spiritual Journey Thursday! Roundup is HERE, and I am delighted to welcome Karen Eastlund as our guest hostess. Welcome, Karen!

"I have a friend who starts her prayers with: “Father, thank you for another day.” I am always struck by the simplicity and intimacy of her prayers. She has much to teach me, and I consider her lessons more and more.

God so often seems remote, incomprehensible and unreachable, yet scriptures teach us the opposite: God as our creator, the good shepherd, the potter, etc. There is closeness in these images, and a sense of hands-on knowledge and compassion. Consider how we feel about our own creations… our children, our writing, our gardens and meals. What love we pour into them! These images describe a God who readily walks with us each day, shaping us, guiding us, protecting us. Psalm 139 speaks of God’s intimate knowledge of us: “You are familiar with all my ways… your hand will guide me… your right hand will hold me fast…you knit me together in my mother’s womb…”

I am thankful for a God who knows me inside and out, and who encourages me to come close in prayer. To me, this very thought is both shocking and heartwarming. Can God really be my closest confidant? Scriptures say yes, and say it overwhelmingly. My challenge is to remember and nurture this closeness in my life, to be open to God’s guidance.

The second part of my friend’s prayer that touches me is her thanks for the day. I love the simplicity and honesty of this prayer. It’s so easy to focus on the list of tasks before me, sometimes feeling overwhelmed, instead of savoring the gift of the day itself. And if I have overlooked the gift of the day, what other gifts have I overlooked?

I hope to cultivate an attitude of gratitude this month, thanking God for each day, for water and sky, for the cool air and the beauty of the season. I hope to look for blessings in my life, and to give thanks for each one.

May the spirit of gratitude be with you, and keep you searching for blessings in each and every day ahead."
Many thanks to Karen for those beautiful words! It reminds me of a poem I've just run across as I've been downsizing my poetry collection. (How many times have I kept a book when there is only one or two poems in it that I adore?! Now I am working on recording those poems in digital files and gifting the poetry book.)
 Here is one of those poems:

Small Wire

My faith
is a great weight
hung on a small wire,
as doth the spider
hang her baby on a thin web,
as doth the vine,
twiggy and wooden,
hold up grapes
like eyeballs,
as many angels
dance on the head of a pin.

God does not need
too much wire to keep Him there, 
just a thin vein,
with blood pushing back and forth in it,
and some love.
As it has been said:
Love and a cough
cannot be concealed.
Even a small cough.
Even a small love.
So if you have only a thin wire,
God does not mind.
He will enter your hands
as easily as ten cents used to 
bring forth a Coke.

- Anne Sexton

Some days I have only a thin wire. But it is enough. And yes yes yes to appreciating the beautiful day! Reminds me of "I thank you God for most this amazing" by e.e. cummings. Here's the first stanza:

i thank You God for most this amazing

day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

... and now, I invite you to share your links below!


  1. What a thoughtful and well stated Gratitude post. Lots to think on and I am really so thankful I could start my day with it! (Along with a hot shower today!!!! Thanks, generator!)

    1. Donna, a hot shower is most appreciated when it's been absent. I'm thankful every day that I was born during a time when hot water is readily available. It's a lovely blessing! Glad your generator is able to provide for some of your needs (and wants).

  2. Oh wow, this is rich, both Karen's post and the Anne Sexton poem you posted, Irene.

    Karen, I love how you point out God's personal attention with the metaphors you bring up. What a beautiful thought to take into the day... into life.

    I find these lines of the Sexton poem moving:

    "God does not need
    too much wire to keep Him there,
    just a thin vein,
    with blood pushing back and forth in it,"

    Again, the picture is personal and specific to one's life.

    Wishing you all a day that pulsates with God's personal love and the awareness of it!

  3. The day is bright and beautiful - and more full because of the message that both of you sent out, Karen and Irene. Thank you for starting my day and giving me a midday respite. I am at a state education conference today and tomorrow.

  4. Irene: Thank you for allowing me to guest host, and for your ongoing support of Spiritual Journey Thursday. Also, I loved the poems you posted. Thank you ever so much!

  5. Karen, thanks for this theme of gratitude (so appropriate for this month). I love these lines from your post: "Can God really be my closest confidant? Scriptures say yes, and say it overwhelmingly. My challenge is to remember and nurture this closeness in my life, to be open to God’s guidance." What an amazing challenge you've set for yourself. I, too, need to remember and nurture my relationship with God.
    And Irene, what delightful poems you've shared with us today. The Anne Sexton one is new to me. And the e.e. cummings - those words could be the opening words for our daily prayers: "I thank you God for most this amazing


Your thoughts?