A Grateful People 10-13-2019

There was once a stone cutter who was very happy with his life and
work. He had a wonderful family whom he loved; he made a good
living cutting and preparing stone for beautiful buildings.
Then one day he delivered a piece of stone to a merchant. The
merchant owned many lavish possessions. The stone cutter began to
feel he was missing out on something in his life. “I wish I were a
merchant with such fine things,” the stone cutter thought to himself.
Amazingly, the stone cutter’s wish came to be. Suddenly he was a
merchant who wore fancy clothes and lived in a beautiful home. His
shop was filled with ornate trinkets and fine goods. The onetime
stone cutter thought that life couldn’t get any better – until he saw the
prince passing through town.
Then he began thinking that to be of noble birth would be much
better than being a simple merchant. And so it came to be: He found
himself dressed in royal garb, sitting atop a fine stallion, parading
through the village. But under the hot sun and heavy clothing, he
grew weary and cranky.The stone cutter-merchant-prince thought that if he were the sun, he could have a profound effect on the entire universe. So he became the sun. And it was wonderful – until a cloud blocked his rays from
getting to the land.
So he wished he could be a cloud to bring rain to water the earth.
And so he became a cloud. He found himself looming over a desolate
mountain valley. He showered the area day and night, creating lakes
and rivers. In time, springs of life began to sprout up on the
landscape. But the mountain itself remained immovable and
unchanged. It was solid and more powerful than his cloud.
So the cloud wanted, instead to be the mountain. And so he
became the mountain. For a while the mountain was happy to be
such a powerful presence – until a young stone cutter came along and
began to chisel away at him.
And the mountain wished to be a stone cutter again.
Some of us never know that moment of realization experienced by
the grateful leper: we never realize how much we have received from
God. Instead, we whine about what we do not have; we are mired in
disappointment because they have more than me. We become
cynical, distrustful, isolated and self-absorbed. As the Samaritan
leper discovers, as the stone cutter eventually comes to understand,
each one of us has been given much by God, and realizing those gifts,
that spirit of gratitude, is the beginning of faith.
Rabbi Herald S. Kushner writing in his latest book, The Lord is
My Shepherd: Healing Wisdom of the 23rd Psalm, reminds us that
gratitude is a conscious and intentional perspective of looking at our
lives and our world.
“Each night as I prepare for bed, I put drops in my eyes to fend off
the threat of glaucoma that would rob me of my sight and take from
me the pleasure of reading. Each morning at breakfast, I take a pill to
control by blood pressure, and each evening at dinner I take another
to lower my cholesterol level. But instead of lamenting the ailments
that come with growing older, instead of wishing that I were as young
and fit as I once was, I take my medicine with a prayer of thanks that
modern science has found ways to help me cope with these ailments.
I think of all my ancestors who didn’t live long enough to develop the
complications of old age, and did not have pills to take when they
did.” Gratitude is a conscious and intentional perspective of looking at
our lives and our world. Gratitude is the beginning of faith. Let us be
a grateful people

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