In the garden that I am imagining it is late spring. A warm breeze is rustling the new green leaves of several huge trees and I am kneeling on the ground, laying down some stones and lighting some candles.
Gratitude Stones: a built-in substitute in the form of my student teacher, a supportive boss, a safe harbor basement home to stay in, an abundance of faith, a car that's in good condition and all paid off, a nice bed, healthy children, Reverend Robin, clean water, my own physical health, supportive friends and family, a secure good job that I also happen to love, clarity about who I am and what I have to do, a class of students I can be away from for a couple days without too many worries, Easter's humor, Clara's strength, Harriet's innocence, my parents' graciousness and love, a gym I adore, and the whole tangled web of experiences that have brought me to exactly where I'm at.
Prayer Candles: grant me patience, understanding, and hope; give my loved ones strength, peace, and health, and keep us all tucked securely under your wings of redeeming love.
Yes, it's true. What doesn't kill us can make us stronger---stronger and wiser and more gentle. Stronger and more patient and more kind. Stronger and more faithful and more closely attuned to god's whispers. Stronger and more pliant and more full of forgiveness and hope.