by Elizabeth Honan Amber

The knot rises in my chest
My heart plummets
Like an elevator in free fall
I try to move away from the action
At all of these feelings —

A friend comes to visit
intending to give comfort.
They see my emotions lathered up and agitated,
My body a knot of tension.

Unsure what to do
They sit and take my hand.
‘Remember,’ They begin,
‘God is in control.’
Don’t worry,’ they continue,   
Everything will work out.’
After a while they finally say,
‘It could be so much worse,
You should be grateful.’

My shoulders tighten and I wince.
My mind rebels at the implied ease
From pain to joy.
I know it is right to give thanks and praise,
And yet…

I have been in the presence of Gratefulness.
She has come to me in the unlooked for moments,
Like the sun breaking through the clouds,
Warm and embracing.
Like a crashing wave
Spraying me whole again.

Her presence feels
Like a passionate kiss
Rocking me to my core
Leaving me speechless,
And knowing something I almost forgot.

She is a visitation,
A sacred moment shared only
By her and the one she seeks.
An angel of sorts.

The temptation to summon her,
To reduce her presence to mere trick of the imagination
Incanting, ‘Thank you God I am not…’
Is to diminish the sacredness of thanksgiving.

She travels through sunsets and stars,
Not through the public transit of advice.
To compare your burden to others
Does not ground you to the path you are called to.

To feel grateful is a fullness,
A lightness of being
Connecting you to the Source
And to This moment.

Another friend comes to visit.
They sit and they listen,
Saying ‘I’m so sorry.’
And, ‘It’s okay to feel these things.’
After a while they gently invite me to be here, now,
Making room for me to ask, ‘What is here?’
As we sit together they reach out, take my hand and whisper,
‘No matter what, you are not alone.’

I pull this reassurance into my heart,
My body relaxes and my mind slows,
Like a horse released from a frantic pace.
I take in this moment and realize,
I am seen.
And I am so grateful.