26 October 2009

Remembrance for Gratitude

There is a lit walkway at the National Gallery, a walkway of light, that takes you from the West to the East, or, the East to the West.

I thought of this during my morning prayers, when I recited Psalm 100, a song of thanksgiving, which over and over again asserts a challenging truth: that we are to give thanks at all times in all ways because "God is God, God made us, not us."

Finding joy in the ultimate humility. Our source of life is beyond us. Only to a degree are we in charge of our destiny. Our mortality hounds us, sometimes like an attack dog; and other times, like this morning, with a playful happiness. One of the most challenging truths to face in life, and one in which I fail miserably all the time. When recovery from failure can begin with the simple act of gratitude.

And when it works, and one is in sync with this truth, it has a lightening, joyous effect, and one feels moved along by it, having given oneself over to this reality. Of course, even this humbling joy can be blinding, and the surrender of one's autonomy is also a warning that a too close proximity to the light has its challenges, too.

So one moves along, like on the walkway at the National Gallery. But eventually the ride comes to an end and you live life on your own, putting one foot in front of the other. Just you, existentially alone, but with a remembrance for the gratitude, and the elemental truths of existence.

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