by Sister Brenda Rose Szegedy, OSF
truOn occasion I receive an email from Jean who enjoys sharing a few words of wisdom from Charlie Brown. Her most recent one reads, “The smile on my face doesn’t mean my life is perfect. It means I appreciate what I have and what I have been blessed with. I choose to be happy.”
This wisdom is reflected in Jean’s joyful attitude even as she grapples with declining eyesight. While on a recent retreat, she wrote a litany of gratitude for the disguised and hidden blessings in her life. As Jean opened her heart to the grace of the moment, she began to see and experience a deeper gratitude for the gift of her precious eyes. She recognized how this gift has served her over the years even in this time of gradual decline. She recalled the words of one of her favorite mystics, Meister Eckhart, “If the only prayer we ever said was ‘thank you,’ that would be enough.” Jean became less concerned with what was missing but focused instead on expressing gratitude for what was left, and for what she has been blessed with. Jean invited me to share her prayer reflection with others who at times grapple with their own forms of diminishment. May her words below remind us that a grateful heart is a joyful heart, “a heart that truly sees.”
“Dear Precious Eyes,
How can I thank you for your long, loving service to me? You have convinced me of the fact that only God could have created this beautiful universe with sunrise and sunset, moonrise, changing sky, profusion of plants, animals, insects, birds, and especially the faces of my family, friends, students, and Sisters in my community. Thank you for letting me see color and texture, light and darkness. Thank you for helping me capture beauty with my camera and to paint and draw. One day you decided to let some of my central vision rest, and I prayed for healing. I still pray, but with the desire to accept whatever diminishes and to be grateful for what remains. Yes, I miss former clarity but you, my precious eyes, help me to put clearer focus on my God, and I am grateful.”
Thank you, Jean, for revealing through your life a grateful heart, a heart that truly sees.