A couple of weeks ago I read an article about sleep deprivation, losing hair, and cracked teeth being caused by the stress of the Pandemic. Certainly, the stress has caused physical injuries to millions worldwide. Yet, beneath those physical injuries are deeper damages within us and within the soul of America. We struggle to find hope and peace within ourselves as our Nation moves nearer to finding a cure for the coronavirus. Being thankful has curative properties too.
Today, my prayer is not about asking God to do something for you and me. It is a prayer of thanksgiving. Being thankful and grateful is a difficult place to be at this time. Things are unbelievably and unexpectedly hard. But thankfulness enables each one of us to see through the darkness and find that hope and healing still exist. Each morning I find it eating my breakfast as I sit on the patio overlooking Tres Palacios Bay. I look up from the steamy bowl of oatmeal, blueberries, and walnuts Dorothy has prepared for me. And there he sits… A magnificent Kingfisher.
The Kingfisher is perched on the birdhouse the Purple Martens have migrated away from. Their departure is the Kingfisher’s gain. He sits on his perch. He sees and surveys his feathered friends. Great Blue Herons. Brown Pelicans flying over the bay, casting their presence like a squadron of B-52 bombers in World War II. A tall slender white Egret carefully navigates the wetlands looking for another taste of nature. A fast-moving mullet jumps repeatedly down the center of the canal below as if the mullet has someplace to go to in a hurry. Two Roseate Spoonbills flying gracefully to their next destination. A large flock of seagulls awkwardly swarming over a school of baitfish just beyond the rock groin. They catch their feast just as the Kingfisher and I catch a glimpse of all of the Saltgrass illumined by the rising Sun. A pastel of perfection of nature created by God. A Fisher of Men – God’s children, you and me. A glorious King who bids that we step out of this dark mess we are in and into a place of thankfulness for the light and love we find all around us if we open our eyes and hearts.
The Kingfisher surveys the bay with his sharp eyes. It is as if he is the King of the Sea. He watches over the diverse and beautiful feathered wildlife God has provided him to appreciate, love, and be within his own way. He is the living feathered messenger to me from God. The one who sets the table of my heart in my daily ritual of sharing breakfast and hope with Dorothy, the woman I love.
Likewise, God, our King, watches over us from afar. He calls us to notice Him too and to be thankful in a much different landscape during the pandemic. We find Him in us. He is the light that illumines our days just as the sunrise lights up the Bay and all its creatures for the Kingfisher and me to see.
We are made God’s own forever with Holy water in Baptism. So, as we pray for a cure, I am thankful for the healing each morning my bowl of oatmeal provides. I remember that “Emmott” in old English means “mouth of the water”. From my mouth come words of thanks to God for the Kingfisher and the King of us all. I open a sweet card from my dear friend, Laura, who lives on an island with a place on the water like me. She quotes author Isak Dinesen, “The cure for anything is saltwater: sweat, tears or the sea”.
God has spoken to us in Scripture about thankfulness and being thankful for the gifts of nature.
And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!
that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!
God, in prayer, let us be thankful for those living creatures in Your Kingdom who open our hearts to see the beauty You have given us as well as the innumerable and exquisite gifts You have bestowed on each of us.
God in prayer, as we find a cure for the coronavirus, may we be healed by our thankfulness and gratitude to You.
God, in prayer, may we see glimpses of Your heavenly Kingdom in all Your living messengers…. the Kingfisher, Your creatures great and small, our pets as well as the beauty that resides in our brothers and sisters. Amen
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Jack H. Emmott is a Senior Counsel of Gray, Reed & McGraw, LLP, a 145-lawyer full-service firm in Houston, Dallas, and Waco, Texas, a Board-Certified Family Law and Master Credentialed Collaborative Law Professional Divorce Attorney, Mediator, Author, Entrepreneur and Inspirational Speaker. For more information about Jack or his latest book, Bending Angels: Living Messengers of God’s Love, go to the Bending Angel website. http://www.bendingangel.com
Photo credit: peruaves.org