Next weekend here in Portlaoise we celebrate our Harvest Thanksgiving. An occasion of gratitude and prayer that will happen in many places of worship this time of year. There is something very fulfilling about eating fresh vegetables that you have nurtured and cultivated with your own hands. As we celebrate the beginning of August, once again we are reminded of God’s bounty, when it comes to the harvest. In Celtic times, this season of Lunasa was an occasion of thanksgiving. The Celtic people burnt huge fires, danced and celebrated many rituals, as they thanked God, for the food and sustenance that nourished them as they faced the darker and more vulnerable months of the year. Harvest time is indeed a time of rich blessing, a time to gather all that has been planted and cared for since the early spring. There can be no harvest without all the necessary tilling, planting, pruning, weeding and nourishing that accompany any fruit that ripens into something good and nourishing.
Perhaps this harvest time is an opportunity for us all, to acknowledge the fruits that we all have in the depth of our being. Fruits that take a lot of time to grow and mature into the beautiful personality and unique qualities that are particular to all our stories, the gift of grand-parents who embody the story of every harvest, parents who respond so generously to the needs of their children. Parenting I’m sure in many ways could be likened to tending the needs of the vineyard, it is constant, demanding, most challenging and in many ways totally dependent on the unconditional generosity and reservoir of love, that provides for the needs of family life. I am often truly inspired by the time and indeed sacrifices that so many wonderful parents, so often make for their children, in order to allow them to grow and realize the best possible harvest for their family. No fruit or talent can realize it is potential without effort and work.
The story is told of a blind girl who hated herself just because she was blind. She hated everyone, except her loving boyfriend. He was always there for her. She said that if she could only see the world, she would marry her boyfriend.
One day, someone donated a pair of eyes to her and then she could see everything, including her boyfriend. Her boyfriend asked her, “now that you
can see the world, will you marry me?” The girl was shocked when she saw that her boyfriend was blind too, and refused to marry him. Her boyfriend walked away in tears, and later wrote a letter to her saying:
“Just take care of my eyes dear.”
I suggest the following poem be read often.
Life Is A Gift
Today before you think of saying an unkind word, think of someone who can’t speak.
Before you complain about the taste of your food, think of someone who has nothing to eat.
Before you complain about your husband or wife,
think of someone who is crying out to God for a companion.
Today before you complain about life, think of someone who went too early to heaven.
Before you complain about your children, think of someone who desires children but they’re barren.
Before you argue about your dirty house, someone didn’t clean or sweep, think of the people who are living in the streets.
Before whining about the distance you drive, think of someone who walks the same distance with their feet.
And when you are tired and complain about your job think of the unemployed, the disabled and those who wished they had your job.
But before you think of pointing the finger or condemning another, remember that not one of us are without sin and we all answer to one maker.
And when depressing thoughts seem to get you down, put a smile on your face and thank God you’re alive and still around.
Life is a gift – Live it, Enjoy it, Celebrate it, and Fulfill it.