Thanksgiving for the Autumn of Life

by Claudia Finnegan

1 Cor. 13:13 “So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

John Finnegan

Fall is my favorite time of year.  I love to see the leaves change from green to red, orange, yellow, or gold.  I love to hear the crunch of leaves under my feet on a woodsy path and feel the crisp hint of winter in the air.  Autumn reminds me of starting school as a kid by buying new clothes and finding out which teacher I would have.  This is the sweater season and a time for scarves and hats.  It’s the time for pumpkins, apples, fall harvest, and celebrating Thanksgiving.  What a beautiful season this is!

Although full of beauty, the reality of autumn is that it is the death of summer.  How is it that we find the cycle of death in nature so beautiful, but the death of a person so horrible?  Or is it just a matter of perspective?

While I watched my husband’s decline, I was overwhelmed with keeping medications straight and getting him to doctor appointments.  As I watched my mother’s decline, I spent hours supporting siblings who struggled to understand why maintenance meds were no longer necessary and why hospital gowns were.  Where was the beauty there?

I didn’t notice much beauty in the dying process as I watched my loved ones go through it.  I have realized the beauty only after reflection and prayer.

My husband, John, wanted his crucifix placed in a prominent place where he could see it every time he opened his eyes.  He shared with me his fears & his wish to be well enough to travel.  He insisted on attending our son’s confirmation with an oxygen tank in tow then celebrating with him and friends at an ice cream parlor.

My mother shared her book reviews with other residents at the assisted living facility where she stayed.  Because she had difficulty writing, she cut out newspaper articles to send to family members she thought about and sent them in the mail.

All of these little acts of thoughtfulness can be seen as beautiful.  As St. Mother Therese of Calcutta said, “We cannot all do great acts, but we can all do small acts with great love.”  Now that is beautiful!

LET US PRAY:  Thank you, Lord, for the gift of our loved ones, family and friends, those with us and those with You.  Help us to learn from their little acts of kindness done with great love so we may learn to do your will with great Love for you and with you, who are Love. 

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