In New Wine Wednesday
By Jill Mraz
Untitled by cocoparisienne via Pixabay. CCO

Untitled by cocoparisienne via Pixabay. CCO

Late autumn is a contemplative time of the year. Blustery gray skies and stratus clouds rolled into tidy rows serve to sweep my mind clear. I confess to being utterly smitten with bare trees against a blazing orange sunset. Or a stark morning sky. The world outside is simplified, condensed, tidied. Waiting to be tucked in under that first clean blanket of snow. Am I nuts? Maybe. For me, this bleak landscape lends the perfect backdrop before which the creative, boundless, interior life can live and move and have it’s being. The contrast in the nature of things, be it the weather or people, bids reflection. Like how a conversation-suddenly-turned-monologue with a chatty stranger can prompt a calm attentiveness in the listener. I  find myself silently thanking them for, no doubt unknowingly, kindling tranquility.  And vice versa, I suspect. Often I walk away from these brief encounters thinking, how we need one another.

The brisk fall days culminate in one of my favorite holidays, Thanksgiving. I have a couple of big talkers in my family, so tomorrow is not only a day off from work, it is a day off from talking. I don’t have to worry about finishing my sentences because I probably won’t get to. And, since I usually schedule my annual silent retreat for the holiday weekend immediately following, the big family gathering serves as a sort of preparatory. How blessed am I? A treat, and then a retreat. I love my family, but sometimes I think I love silence just a little bit more. Time will definitely tell, although I think I already know the answer to this one.

We will gather, as we always do, around our colorful, festive table laden with the little candles and all the good, warm food and wine that makes us sleepy and goofy, in a cozy house filled with familiar voices and lots of laughter. So many blessings. The smell of cold in the children’s hair and leaves stuck to sweaters as they burst in from the yard, framed by the darkening sky. Plunking themselves down in front of huge pieces of pie, laughing the whipped cream into their mouths, laughing and laughing. The sounds and smells of late autumn, warm and cold, bitter and sweet, the kids getting so tall. My  Thanksgiving prayer this year is to simply be with my family whom I love, who love to talk. To steep, deep in gratitude in the present moment, content to just let it all roll on, however it will.  Much like those layered clouds rolling by way up in the dark, chilly, blessed November sky. God, grant me the grace to see your gifts clearly and dearly before me this Thanksgiving. And to love, as you love.

About the Author:
nww-11-23-16Jill Mraz is a Catholic mother to one wonderful daughter. Residing in Minnesota they enjoy summer road trips to either coast, marveling at the stunning beauty of God’s natural world. Jill writes poems and essays which reflect upon motherhood  and her beloved Catholic faith. She is a contributor for WINE: Women In the New Evangelization.
Showing 8 comments
  • Sarah Damm
    Reply

    Jill, what a beautiful and poetic reflection for us, as we move into the Thanksgiving holiday. I hope you have a blessed holiday with your family … and a peaceful retreat with the Lord.

    • Jill Sarah Mraz
      Reply

      Thank you Sarah, and to you as well and your family ~ Jill

  • Allison Hinde
    Reply

    Wonderful. I have also found lately that the big talkers in may ways are the big thinkers. Have a nice Thanksgiving.

    • Jill
      Reply

      Thank you Allison. I enjoy being the listener more and more. I learn so much about love and human nature by taking the back seat, and my pride gets a much needed break too – what a relief for everyone.

  • karen ferin
    Reply

    Amen, to you all as well. God Bless us all for we have so much to be thankful for.

    • Jill Sarah Mraz
      Reply

      Amen to that Karen!

  • Elizabeth Dohogne
    Reply

    Jill,

    Thank you for sharing your perspective of thriving in tranquil harmony within the seasons of God’s creation and the joy of using Graces He has given you by offering yourself to others as a welcoming, bottomless cup of hot tea.

    Elizabeth

  • Jill
    Reply

    Thank you Elizabeth, you yourself are undoubtedly what you described here. God is the mystery we are most interested in and yet will never solve, isn’t he? Does he ever keep me guessing and awestruck and wobbly in the knees. If we see and seek his will in our lives and then amend and bend ours to his he will surprise us even more, no doubt, with utter beauty. I pray for the grace to bend everyday – and fail at least as often! Thank God for his love mercy, what would we do without it ~

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