With the holiday season upon us, it’s important to remember how blessed each and everyone of us are. When reflecting on my blessings, I thought about how my idea of what I have been grateful for has changed. And boy, has is changed! For example..
As a kid, one of my favorite things to do while at my grandparents house in southern Nebraska was to pick corn from the field right next to their house. They had acres and acres stalks, and since I was short enough, I could peer down one of the rows and look at the corn expanding on and on for miles. Seeing how far the corn spread had a strangely calming effect, I remember. Although not every kid enjoyed doing such a menial task like picking corn, my brother and I made it fun- we threw the corn husks at each other or tried to see who could pick the biggest ear. But, one of the major parts of what I remember about doing this as a kid was the calming effect that washed over me. The moments where my brother and I got so focused on what we were doing that we forgot to talk, and the only thing you could hear was the rustling of leaves- that was what left a lasting impact on me. The serenity of just being out in the country with the warm sun on my face was what made me appreciate the task so much.
But, I did not always appreciate the calm moments in my childhood.
Growing up in a Catholic family, my family and I went to Mass every Sunday. Although as a kid I enjoyed the peacefulness of picking corn at my grandparents house, I did not enjoy sitting peacefully in Mass, listening to a man up on the altar repeating a different version of what he had said last week. I was a kid, after all- the last thing I wanted to do was sit quietly in a stiff church pew for an hour. But, over time, this was the area where a change occurred. I became busier with sports and schoolwork as I got older, which led me to appreciate the quiet alone moments I had in church. Whether that was in adoration by myself or during a moment of reflection at Mass, the quiet moments of prayer finally began to give me the same feeling I felt when looking down the rows of corn when I was a kid. And in these quiet moments, I began to realize how amazing my faith was- how Jesus willingly gave Himself for us, even though we did not deserve it. How grateful we should be for him! I encourage you- take some time to yourself, recognize the beauty around you, and see all the amazing things God has placed around us. Whether that be the cornfield near your house or even the different creases in your hands, sit alone and recognize God in the peacefulness that surrounds you. By taking even just a little time for myself, it has made me realize I should be grateful for so much, as He has given me so much. Although the place where I feel calm has changed from a cornfield to a chapel, the things I have realized I should be grateful for have grown and changed. As a kid, I was just grateful for the serenity I felt in those moments in the field, but as I have grown it has made me realize that wherever God is, is where I feel calm- all it took was finding out that just sitting with God in Mass can make me feel the same way that calmly picking corn as a kid had made me feel. The calm moments in life are what I have become more and more grateful for, and who knew it all could have sparked from moments in a cornfield.