Reflections: March 2017

There are “…two kinds of gratitude: the sudden kind we feel for what we take; and the larger kind we feel for what we give.” Edwin Arlington Robinson

About once a month I volunteer to collect for my local food pantries, giving people who enter the supermarket a list of items the pantries could use, and encouraging them to contribute one or two of them to our collection. It’s easy and many people are happy to participate.

One woman came out of the supermarket with a carriage full of groceries. She started lifting out some bags and placing them in our collecting basket. There were the standard items in her bags, peanut butter, corn flakes, paper products. But then I looked more closely. There were marinated artichoke hearts. Deluxe mixed nuts. Olives. Fancy jams and gourmet crackers. She looked at me and shrugged.

“I once was having a difficult time. I depended on the food pantries to help feed my family. While we appreciated the generosity of folks, truthfully, we got tired of peanut butter. So now that I can give back, I thought that in addition to the staples, I’d like people to be able to have a treat now and then, something special, something fun.”

She kept pulling bags out of her shopping cart and placing them in ours. She walked away holding the small bag of items she had purchased for herself and sporting a broad smile that lit up her whole being. I could see her nodding at the folks who passed her, almost like a blessing, as she walked on toward her car.

Edwin Arlington Robinson is right. There are “two kinds of gratitude: the sudden kind we feel for what we take; and the larger kind we feel for what we give.

And they are both important. As I poured over the responses of the house meetings, (129 of you attended a total of 17 house meetings! YAY!), I could tell that you understand the two kinds of gratitude as well. They are both an important part of our experience of MUUC – we feel gratitude for all that MUUC gives us, for what we take away, and we feel gratitude for the opportunities we have to give – of our hearts, our hands, our time, and our money. It is all part of the alchemy of making meaning, growing our souls by deeper giving, deeper receiving, deeper cherishing of our shared community.

How blessed we are that the opportunities to give and receive keep unfolding, here, in our beloved community and with the world outside. What a joy indeed!

The spirit is moving, joy is bubbling, and shoots of new life are working their magic, in our hearts, and in the fertile earth. What a glorious time to be here, together!


Rev. Anita