Standing at the crossroads where the fruits fade, the leaves begin to fall, and the bright air is tinged with chill, I see why this month is dedicated to our giving thanks. We need this warming of the heart, a chance to feed the flame that it can burn bright through the dark winter. And as I quietly sit in gratitude for the many blessings my family, community, and planet have provided, I cannot help but be haunted by guilt and indignation– for these blessings are not equally bestowed. Many go without for the benefit of a few, their deficit the requirement of another’s bounty. But we can use this incendiary truth to stoke our burning resolve to transform the status quo. I use it to fuel the Herb Bus, spreading health and wellness, one remedy at a time. I use it to warm the foot baths at the Harriet Tubman Foot Clinic, soothing the feet of our friends on the street. And as I work towards this more loving and just community, the indignation is transformed yet again into gratitude– that I am able to give. I am reminded of the lyrics of “Given To,” a song by Ruth Berbermeyer.
I never feel more given to than when you take from me –
And you know my giving isn’t done to put you in my debt,
but because I want to live the love I feel for you.
To receive with grace may be the greatest giving.
There’s no way I can separate the two.
When you give to me, I give you my receiving.
When you take from me, I feel so given to.
Thank you friends and strangers, who fill my world with purpose and love.
~ Herbalista Lorna
(from her musings on a gold-rimmed and smoke scented autumn)