by Ken Rolheiser
Holy Spirit, Gratitude and Heart Songs

There’s a certain feeling of fulfillment in retiring after a successful career and raising a wonderful family. We can spend time counting our blessings instead of tears, as the song goes.

Blessings surround us, inundate us. Take gravity for example. While cleaning the house recently I was struck by the wonder of gravity. All the dirt falls to one side of four. You seldom have to vacuum the ceiling.

Take it outside during the fall and you really appreciate gravity. The leaves fall and stay there. It would be a devil of a time if they were floating around. There’s a certain wonder in the order of creation.

Driving down the highway I love to play my favorite songs that captured all my dreams as a youth. Much of the emptiness is gone now. There is a fulfillment in realizing all that has come to pass with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I’m thinking of career choices, dreams pursued and love that surrounds us in family. 

Linda Ronstadt’s “Blue Bayou” captures many of our dreams and longings and leads us to contemplate life’s fulfillments. It begins with the “left my baby behind” heartbreak, but the song promises so much more that we experience in our lives. 

We work “’til the sun don’t shine” in our careers. We always go back to our dreams as we struggle. We remind ourselves that “folks are fine”, and “the world is mine on Blue Bayou” as life passes us by.

We get to that mythical place “Blue Bayou” where our loved ones surround us. Then it’s “evening tide” in our lives and the time when some “sweet day gonna take away this hurting inside”. Well. You do the math.

Our dreams come true. There is a Divine order to it all. God the Father made us and set us up to share heaven with him. Jesus the son redeemed us. We have celebrated many Christmases trying to grasp that one. Christmas is the miracle of faith.

Then Easter has led us through so many years and realizations. Resurrection, Ascension and Pentecost should fill our minds and bring all those wonderful blessings. They say, “There is nothing new under the sun, except what has been forgotten. Here is a new message – God loves us!

The seasons of our lives are so full of blessings if we only stop to contemplate. The Holy Spirit is power at our disposal. Faith makes it possible to grapple with the impossible. The Holy Spirit can help us do the things we may think are impossible.

Yes, God loves us. He loves us because we are weak and need him. Accept the invitation to forgiveness, to the embrace God is offering. A bad workman always battles with his tools. Do we use the spiritual tools we are given?

Nothing brings more joy to a father than the hug of a child. As human parents we know this. 

Jesus taught us about the Father’s love in a wonderful parable that makes us weep with joy: “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20).

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. (Jeremiah 31:3).

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