Advent: Thursday, Week 4

I am feeling particularly grateful this morning: while on my way to a friend's annual Solstice party last night, I tripped over an unexpected dip in the pavement, tearing open some skin on fingers and knees and twisting my wrist and ankle.

It could have been SO much worse, and SO much more painful.  Lying in bed this morning, I found myself thinking there must have been a pair of angels on either side of me, gently lowering me to the ground and carefully cushioning my fall so that nothing was broken.  I feel very blessed.

Of course, if I HAD a harp right now, I wouldn't be able to play it because my fingers are too stiff and my wrist is still weak.  But the thought is there: whatever the challenges the holidays may bring, at least I won't have to meet them with a cast on my wrist or my ankle.  True, I missed the party.  But it seems a small price to pay.

So then -- because, with the practice of Tonglen, any comfort I find in response to suffering I experience, I imagine that comfort flying to others who suffer --  I found myself thinking of the more than 5,000 American troops who've been wounded just this year while soldiering in Afghanistan, and how difficult it must be to suffer so, so far away from home.  How do we find it in ourselves to be thankful for that? We can be grateful to them for their service on our behalf, but it all seems so pointless.

So if you do, in the spirit of the season, find yourself singing, I invite you to spare a thought for our soldiers while singing.  Send them your songs and your gratitude, and any comfort you can muster.  Somehow I believe it has to help.


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