Relish the Gifts of your Every Day

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Throughout the year of service with Bon Secours Volunteer Ministry, we explore and expand our collective imaginations relating to prayer. We try different practices and methods, opening ourselves to encounters with God in a variety of forms and exercises.

One such prayer exercise is the Examen from St. Ignatius of Loyola. Volunteers in both Baltimore and Richmond have access to Reimagining the Ignatian Examen, by Mark E. Thibodeaux, SJ, and he describes the Examen as a way “we review our recent past to find God and God’s blessings in daily life” (x). There are five steps for this daily routine, and Thibodeaux summarizes them with 5 R’s: Relish, Request, Review, Repent, and Resolve (xi).

The first step invites us to “relish the moments that went well and all of the gifts [we] have today” (xi). In a year with so much pain, uncertainty, tumult, and division, it can be counterintuitive to pause and “relish” the gifts in front of us. And yet, by tuning our eyes and ears to see and hear the places where God’s Spirit has been active, we can re-orient our focus away from the mire of our circumstances and onto God, the Great Healer, Sustainer, and Giver of Life.

We asked our current volunteers to ask the people they encounter in their service sites what they’re grateful for. From 5th graders in Baltimore to retirees in Richmond, the gifts vary but the relishing is consistent. What gifts do you see and relish in your life today?

The Baltimore sky at sunset.

Baltimore middle schoolers:

  • Hawaiian punch
  • My family
  • For my family.
  • For my family.
  • For my family.
  • For my family.
  • My friends
  • Nature
  • The sky
  • For the sky because once I wake up the sky is always waiting for me.
  • Animals
  • Food and to everyone who created food & stuff
  • Education
  • Dog
  • God
  • Life
  • Peace
  • Freedom
  • SAB girls, family, and Sisters Academy
  • For being alive.
  • For still being alive.
  • Grateful for waking up today.
  • For my family and friends and I’m also thankful for my school and the environment.
  • For my family and school.
  • For having a family.
  • For my education.
  • For being able to read and write.
  • For my parents who work everyday to help me be safe and give me a home.
  • For walking my dog and feeding her.
  • Gratitude means that you are being thankful and showing appreciation for and to return kindness.
  • I am grateful to have my wonderful family and to be alive and healthy.
  • For a school community that cares about me not only as a student but as an individual.
  • For my friends, family, music.
  • Gratitude means being humble and looking at the little things in life instead of the big fancy things.
  • I think gratitude means that you’re really thankful for who and what you have in your life.
  • For my family and friends, also food.
  • For my hair because it makes me feel really good about myself.

Farm volunteers

  • “I’m grateful that my family and friends are well, all things considered, and I’m grateful that I have a job to go to every day.”
  • “I’m grateful for health and also for my daughter who recently passed her tests to become a nurse practitioner.”
  • “I’m thankful for my friends who are coming over for Thanksgiving.”
  • “I am grateful for quiet moments and laughter; anything that keeps me in the present. I am most grateful for time with my family and my dog, Her Highness Royal RoseyPup.”

Richmond high schoolers

  • “I’m grateful for my family and for them all being relatively healthy during this pandemic.” -10th grader
  • “I’m actually grateful for my mom. I admire her a lot. She’s a strong lady. She does everything for me. I don’t know what I would do without her. She is an example for me.” – 10th grader
  • “I’m grateful for my family and basically people I don’t know because some days a blessing comes to you from a stranger.” -10th grader
  • “Everything. Other things I’m grateful for are the whole Cristo Rey school and group of teachers. They’re really nice. They take care of us and they always want the best for us.” – 10th grader
  • “Getting to meet new people and experience new beginnings.” -9th grader
  • “I’m grateful for a lot of things. I’m grateful for basically everything that I have because I know that I’m very fortunate. Like I was blessed with very awesome parents and a very awesome family because I always feel safe, I always feel respected, I always feel supported in everything I do by my family.” -9th grader
  • “I’m grateful for being alive.” -9th grader
  • “I’m grateful for my friends and my dad.” -9th grader