Monday, October 02, 2006

Riches in the leftovers

My Thanksgiving season traditionally starts on October 1. For those who read the Christian Science Bible Lesson, that's when we crack open that year's fourth quarter issue, which always contains the Thanksgiving lesson. (You can read or download this year's for free at this link.)

This year they're featuring the Bible story of Ruth. She's the one who leaves her native land with her mother-in-law after her husband dies, to go back to the land of his ancestry. She meets a distant relative there who takes her under his wing. Yesterday when I read this story again, I was struck by this passage:

Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens:

What Ruth is being invited to do here is follow behind those reaping the corn, gathering what they've dropped or missed. In this way, she's able to fill her apron with corn to sustain both her and her mother-in-law. (The happy ending later is that the distant relative eventually marries her, and she becomes great-grandmother to Israel's King David.)

What I’m appreciating today is Ruth's humility and willingness to pick up the leftovers. How many of us scorn leftovers? Like, if it wasn't prepared especially for us, we'd rather leave it behind. We don't want the job if we were second choice, we don't want the present if it was re-gifted from something else, we don't want the clothes if they are hand-me-downs. But there are riches in these leftovers.

I look around my home and can see that much of what I have has been gifts of this nature. I have a hand-me-down television my parents carted across country to give me. I have not one, not two, but *four* couches that friends gave me as they upgraded theirs or were moving, one of which graces the most formal room of my house. I have an elegant coffee table, countless books, rugs, chairs, kitchen items, clothes, all of which came from well-meaning people who no longer needed these things but thought perhaps I might. All of it together adds up to a home that may look like a bit of a patchwork, but I feel surrounded by love.

Because that's what love is—sharing what we've got. And letting people give you things is a form of gratitude in and of itself. They may not have a million dollars to bestow on you, but they do have the thing in their hand at that moment. Accepting it and the love it represents imbues it with grace. Rejoicing that this gift of love has come your way can fill your days with joy.

My home is a constant reminder of these moments of love and those who enacted them. Mom, Dad, Susan, Carrie, Cathy, Jeanne, Glory, Lisa… The list goes on and on. I love them all, and I still feel their love today.

Happy Thanksgiving, Day One.

REMINDER: Sign up for the Spiritual Open House, this Sunday, October 8.

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At 10/02/2006 12:05:00 PM, Blogger athos said...

this is a wonderful description of "home" where you are not only the receiver but i bet this is "command central" for sharing too! The quote from Ruth also made me think that right THERE was there abundance -- don't go looking elsewhere for fulfillment (glean in another field), the harvest is right in front of you.

At 10/03/2006 11:08:00 PM, Blogger Kim said...

This is wonderful Laura - this is home at its most lovely - "the center though not the boundary of the affections"! (another fav quote from Mary Baker Eddy)


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