Editor’s note: This week we celebrate a pre-Thanksgiving Week of Gratitude, with Loyola Press authors sharing reflections on gratitude each day.I am currently writing this post from the last seat on an airplane. It is a middle seat, does not recline, and the chair in front of me seems to relish in its ability to recline just a bit more than the others. I am traveling with my wife to my right and my six-pound terrier by my feet, and am kept alert by the sound, smell, and vibrations of a spirited toilet flush every five minutes. I am returning from the Houston rodeo, so of course, I’m wearing the clunkiest cowboy boots in Texas, adding my total height to be six-foot-five. The gentleman to my left is biting his nails while simultaneously challenging me to a game of transcontinental dueling elbows on our shared armrest.
To some degree, we have all been here, whether on a subway ride or in a crowded restaurant, or maybe even some of you are former clowns used to traveling in a tiny automobile. Space is a commodity we often take for granted until it is limited. It is everywhere and shared, coveted and in many cases for sale. For just $80 more, my knees would be happier; for $360 more, I couldn’t even imagine how far I could recline.
Today, give gratitude for the freedom to find space and thrive in it. Whether you choose to kneel down and pray, stretch out those legs, or run circles around your perky little dog, enjoy right now everything that I am not, as the unheralded Economy Minus passenger and toilet gatekeeper for another two and a half hours.
Ah, if the world would only give me more! I would happily pay for happier knees, gladly pay ransom for the luxury to recline.
That is the way we operate in the world (or at least I do) a good bit of the time. (Others may be more holy, but I am me.) There is something that is wanted, something that is needed, some press of more that itself feels like a too tight middle seat.
Seeing the headline for this piece, the idea of physical space was not what came to mind. What immediately resonated was the gift of spiritual and emotional and rational space, the gift of time to attune to what surrounds us throughout, what endures and shines and gives in the midst of all the clutter and to-do’s and time poverty that oppresses.
Today I will take some time to be grateful to just be. Thanks, Holy Spirit! (This surely was not my own idea.)
Can relate to all of this Matt. I’m a former flight attendant. ( Oh the poor hunmanity of coach!)
As we approach some potentially bumpy weather ahead in our beloved country
(the new president elect and all), I’m grateful for the space we all occupy still. We are still the greatest country in the world. I can’t believe anyone who may doubt that. Some of us are cramped, some spread out. May we all increase the space in our minds and hearts to include the differences of others and march toward that space where we may find common ground.
When I wake up at night and can’t get back to sleep I think about how wonderful it is to not be on a 16 hour airplane trip stuck in the middle seat.
that is a really good reflection! Space is something I do take for granted although almost daily I am aware of the beauty that I see all around….we live on a farm and so we have space to walk, to pray, to look and listen! Thank you for the reminder that for this space I am very grateful!
Matt you had me in stitches as I visualised the situation and really dislike middle seats for both those reasons-the reclining chair in front and the armrest struggle. It was a joy to read.
I am sitting here recovering from a bout of illness with lots of space around me physically and more so as I look out from my window facing Lake Ontario on to God’s lovely blue water and sky. I thank God for his many blessings. Happy Thanksgiving from Burlington, Ontario Canada.!
A former Pastor of our parish, foreign born with a heavy accent, used to say “It is the little sufferings that bring you closer to the baby Jesus”. Perfect for moments such as yours. Safe journey, Happy Thanksgiving from Canada!
Sorry MATT WEBER for addressing you as Mark ……..oops!
After 2 days working in a hospital office,
I am grateful I have just been in open space to the cemetery ( despite it bouncing down with rain) and now as I visit Prayer Sites am snuggled under a duvet with a coffee ……….?
Haha , love it, Mark .
I must admit I do like my ” personal space” and probably frown upon anyone who does so. As a commuter this past 13 months I have experienced it more than ever. I must add it is usually men more than women who are guilty of this ( no offence) ?