Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Within Our Reach

At Christmastime my thoughts keep turning to all my friends and family whom I will not be with for the feast, and I want to pick up the phone to talk to each one, to tell all that I miss them, tell them that if I were with them I'd hug them tight. The Father's gift of Love, of His only-begotten Son, is the quality of love that is expansive and overflowing in its essence. It -- He --fills the universe, and will fill us to the degree that we are empty of self. I guess just thinking of it makes me feel more like sharing.

Sometimes I cry because I miss these people whom I can't touch and look in the eye; mostly the tears are out of gratefulness for having so many people in my life to love. Following fast on the heels of that thought is the chance to soak up that Love myself in the moment of grace. I notice, though, that this kind of quietness is hard to hold on to as the busyness factor multiplies now, and there's definitely no time to be chatting on the phone with all my beloveds.

This poem that Maria posted to set December's mood on her excellent Poem a Day is what I would like to say to everyone, every creature made in God's image. And also, "God is with us!"
 
LETTER TO A FRIEND 

I salute you. There is nothing I can give you which you have not; but there is much that, while I cannot give you, you can take.
No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today:
Take heaven.
No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in the present:
Take peace.
The gloom of the world is but a shadow; behind it, yet within our reach is joy:
Take joy.
And so at this Christmas time I greet you, with the prayer that for you, now and forever, the day breaks and the shadows flee away.

~ Fra Giovanni Giocondo (1435?-1515), Italian Franciscan friar and scholar

9 comments:

elizabeth said...

I feel this way too! So many people we miss and love... What blessings God has given us in our friends!

margaret said...

Lovely poem by a monk with a lovely name...

I too am grateful for all the people I have to love. Even when I'm very, very low I can remember God's love through Him giving me so many people to love. Was just blogging about this very thing - you beat me to it :)

Have a holy, happy and blessed Nativity - and a very merry Christmas.

M.K. said...

Did you know -- this medieval letter was one of Tasha Tudor's favorite quotes. I took one line from it for the sub-title of my blog. There is such hope in it. Sometimes my heart aches for those away from me, esp. ones I know I'll never see again. I think it is all a part of longing for heaven -- when we will be together for eternity, and never parted. I'm looking forward to all that time together.

wayside wanderer said...

I love this quote. So good to remember especially this time of year..."the gloom of the world is but a shadow...day breaks and the shadows flee."

Jeannette said...

message received
returned...
forwarded...
and like a covey of birds
turns again
and settles in...

Gumbo Lily said...

What a gift to share with us.
Take Heaven
Take Peace
Take Joy!

Merry Christmas.
Jody

Left-Handed Housewife said...

Oh, how wonderful! Take joy, indeed! Merry Christmas, GretchenJoanna. I will be thinking of you over the days of feasting and rejoicing.

xofrances

Kari of Writing Up A Storm said...

So beautiful! Thank you so very much for all of heaven and peace and joy that you give in every post you write, and I wish heaven, peace, and joy back to you. Merry Christmas, GretchenJoanna! Happy end of the year and happy new year coming up. And bless you!! xoxo Kari

Pom Pom said...

Merry Christmas, Gretchen Joanna! You are a thoughtful one, a risk taker, a reflector, and a fine ambassador of the King of kings. I'm so glad I know you.