I had the privilege of time in our hermitage.  As you would expect everything was still and peaceful and I found myself being overwhelmed with this awesome sense of gratitude.  I am convinced that gratitude in many ways is a doorway to wonderful surprises.  At that intense moment of gratitude I felt like my world was so beautiful and peaceful.  I felt fully awake to everything that was around me.  Clearly gratitude expanded my whole world and called me to see my everyday world in a much broader and compassionate and gentler way.  Gratitude and time away somehow repairs all the pain and vulnerabilites and tears that can make my heart sink.  Time away at the hermitage was for me a moment of restoration.

I can so easily move into fear and guilt and shame and exhaustion but if I allow myself to bring gratitude to the fore there is a restoration that happens inside of me.  Sitting in my little hermitage with nothing t do but look outside at the beautiful white snow and red cardinals, drink a little wine and listen to Mozart and simply soak up the goodness around me, I knew it was a sacred moment.  Gratitude and beauty and stillness are what allow us to practice the sacrament of the pressent moment.  It’s not about naming or listing things we’re grateful for–although that’s a good thing–but it’s about recognizing the sacramental miscellaneous gifts of life bestowed when we stop long enough to see, taste, touch, feel, and find gladness (sunlight, birds, music, memories of love, random acts of kindness).  These are ethe  transformative moments that make life such a beautiful gift.