- Kathleen Henderson Staudt
- I work as a teacher, poet and spiritual director at a number of institutions in the DC area. My teaching focuses in various ways on writing, poetry, Spirituality and Christian vocation and ministry - especially from the point of view of the laity. I also offer classes and retreats encouraging people to explore their inner lives, engage their creativity and reflect on their beliefs about God, vocation, and how we can discern and pursue new ways to transform our broken world. I enjoy speaking of faith in the secular academy as well as reminding those preparing for ministry in the Church that our primary purpose is to love and serve the world beyond the church's doors. I love helping people to grow in faith and to find their own voices, and I also love encouraging them to use their minds. I see no contradiction between these impulses, believing as I do that faith, reason and creativity work together.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Gratefulness - on Thanksgiving Day
My children, in their twenties, -- arrived yesterday, safely, flying in from long distances, but without undue traffic or airport delays. I am so grateful for this . They are home rarely and it always seems like a moment of miracle when they come in the door, as they did together, yesterday evening. This year I added a ridiculously "Norman-Rockwellish" touch to their arrival by making the apple pie while I waited for them to navigate the Dulles Toll Road and get home. It was in the oven when they arrived and they responded immediately to the "smell of food" as they came in the door, warming my own heart. And that evening all four of us gathered around the dining room table for dinner-- as we only do now when they are home -- for a meal I had prepared and good conversation -- And I was so grateful for this chance to enjoy firsthand who they are growing up to be.
Last night after dinner, the "kids" dispersed to their rooms to do their own thing, my husband sat down to play Brahms and Chopin on the piano, as he does most evenings, and I stood at the kitchen window, listening, washing more dishes than I am used to washing -- one of the things I notice when everyone is home-- and just feeling overwhelmingly glad, that gladness washing over me as the water washed over the plates in the sink. I am so grateful that once again, another year, everyone is home, and whole, and here, for a time.
We have a lull this morning, again just hanging out, all adults together under the same roof. This is something I always hoped for when they were growing up, that we could be comfortable and at home together, at least sometimes, once they became adults. That was a blessing I had from my own family and I have hoped for it for us. And here we are. I don't have to cook today. Later we will go to a friend's house for Thanksgiving dinner with long-time friends. My contributions are pumpkin and apple pies, which I enjoyed preparing, these last few days, in anticipation of the feast. Nice to have them all ready to go -- all we'll need to do is get dressed and drive to the feast this year. (My turn will come at Christmas).
Gratefuless, says Brother David Steindl-Rast, is the heart of prayer. I am full of gratitude today.