The Salem Tidings

From the Pastor’s Desk


 Note from Pastor Paola:

I have been taking an exercise class in the water. I love it!! I don’t care too much for the workout part of it, but being in the water makes
exercising almost fun. Being in the water makes me happy. I can pretend it is summer, it is warm, and I am on a beach somewhere.  I have been noticing a woman in my class who is constantly unhappy and complaining about almost anything. Her body language and facial expression signal her constant unhappiness. I think she is just a grumbler. I usually try to stay away from her; grumbling is contagious,  and I don’t want her to ruin my happy water time. 
The Israel people spent a great part of their journey toward the Promised Land grumbling. They grumbled for what they didn’t have and for what they did have. Every morning they were receiving manna bread,  every night they received meat, and fresh water out of rocks. They had been freed from slavery, crossed the Red Sea miraculously… but nothing took the grumbling attitude out of them. 
Do you know what is the worst part of grumbling? You become unable to see the gifts in your life or to experience the joy of these gifts, and even worse, you can’t recognize the Giver. Did you ever get caught in a vicious cycle of grumbling? I did. It is not fun. In grumbling, there is no space for joy and even worse, there is no space for a life with God. 
November is upon us. I love the way the season of Thanksgiving forces me to slow down and remember to practice intentional gratitude. In gratitude, we can experience life as a gift. Gratitude opens us up to wonder, joy, and humility. It makes our hearts generous. It liberates us from the prison of self-preoccupation. 
Enter into this season with a grateful heart. Try these two simple spiritual disciplines during this month:
  • Write a card or email every week (or more) to someone you are grateful for. Tell him/her why you are grateful. It will be a huge gift of joy to you.
  • Pray your own blessings. Each night before you go to sleep, write down four blessings for which you are grateful to God. It will fill you with joy even after the worst day.
Gratitude humbles us, allows us to see the gifts we receive, and makes us truly rich. Gratitude frees us from grumpiness and complaining, sadness and isolation. It may even help us to smile and talk to the negative grumblers in our lives. I tried this with the grumpy lady in my exercise class. I got an almost smile out of her yesterday!!
Happy Thanksgiving, my friends!
Pastor Paola