Gavin Thomas Murphy runs a website called GratitudeInAllThings.com where he looks to Ignatian Spirituality for strength and inspiration.
The song I Will Wait by Mumford & Sons includes the lyrics: “Now I’ll be bold, as well as strong, and use my head alongside my heart”. The chorus repeats: “And I will wait, I will wait for you”. The singers describe a connection and journey with another person, as well as mutual understanding, humility and intimacy. It is a call to build a relationship on a solid foundation where love freely flows. Of course, we all want to feel safe and secure, but where do we begin?
For most of us, our family is where we do our earliest social and emotional learning. By interacting with our parents, brothers, sisters, we begin to look outward to interactions with friends, neighbours and strangers. Jesus says: “The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock” (Matthew 7:25). Similarly, a family must be very strong to withstand challenging situations. They must be rooted in their bond for each other, so not to be uprooted.
There is also a Zen chant called ‘Practice of Gratitude’ where meditators express gratitude for their numerous gifts. It includes the line, “I offer my gratitude for the family and friends I have been given”. This reminds us that our loved ones are like presents gifted to us at Christmas time. Can we recall the appreciation, warmth and joy for our Christmas gifts? Do we feel the same about our family and friends?
We are vulnerable human beings and we need others for safety and security. It is easy to imagine being disembodied, disconnected and depressed on our own. We need help to dig deep and build a foundation of rock from a lesser foundation such as one of sand. Saying thanks for our family tree of growth and strength is a good start.
Jesus advises his followers to listen to him and for his teaching to take root in their hearts. He wants them to build a solid foundation of faith. He is always encouraging and inviting them to a life of depth and meaning.
Who do I feel closest to? Can I say thanks for my family? Do I find safety and security in my faith?