This poem was an assignment for my SALT students, and my version of a Psalm of Thanksgiving
?# 7.A common format for PSS of Thanksgiving included these elements: (Write a psalm of thanksgiving with the following sections.)
Address & invitation
To the God who transforms what is beyond transformation — dry bones and dead bodies, broken minds and closed hearts, long dead and buried stunning feats of ignorance and stupidity much too long-lived silly, yet devastating slights, failures to notice or pay attention breath catching, unexplainable, beyond-comprehension tragic events — by taking into Yourself, all that is at play in this world by never making light of what seems SO important to us, — food, clothing, houses, relations, love
To the One who comes back at us, with us, again and again, in all things Emmanuel…
Remembrance of a painful, difficult, dangerous experience;
In memory of things I cannot write or say, with embarrassment, grief, shame, fear, anger, rage…too deep for words, as well as huge desires and longing, too big to be believed, for YOU and an ever-growing list of gravely ill friends, newly diagnosed diseases, failures, tragedies, loss…
A Shift from danger, sadness, etc. to joy, strength,
This move from sadness to joy is invisible, impossible to describe because it comes out of the darkness as a mystery, a surprise, grace. Rather, what is known is how it feels after that move is made. What happens in-between the earlier joy, and the new darkness, but before I am able to dance in joy is unsayable. It is.
Entrance into a place of thankful praise
This is the mystery, rare words of thanksgiving. The way out of darkness is not announced, there is no door on the inside of grief.
Thanksgiving arrives like an owl in the forest, that flies away from us towards the south, through the trees behind our house on the Island.
Thanks giving appears with all the elegance of a Great Blue Heron, preening her feathers, like a woman in front of a mirror.
Only after many, many repetitions of suffering, amazement, and involuntary awareness that the Holy One is here, is with us, is providing, again, and again, and again, …then, maybe then does Thanksgiving begin to become a normal part of my life.
It takes more than time, it takes some combination of faith, woven into awareness and enough dots connecting, the bad with the good in life, through God. Amen.
I give THANKS for this amazement that You are, that we are here together,
to study, pray and learn.
Thank you, Holy One. Thank You, Emmanuel. Thanks be to GOD. Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.