• Susan Koehler

Thank you. I love this.

"If the only prayer you ever say in your life is thank you, it will be enough."

Meister Eckhart

I once read that true praise is expressed as appreciation. The example given was of a child who creates a work of art and offers it as a gift. Upon receiving this creation, there are several possible responses.

What is it? As a teacher, this is the question I was taught to avoid. The preferred Tell me about your picture provides an opening for the child to discuss the work without the implication that it’s incomprehensible to the receiver. Still, though, the focus is on the giving rather than the receiving.

What do you want me to do with this? It’s a valid question for anyone who wants to carry out the wishes of the creator and make sure their intentions are clearly understood. However, it also carries a hidden message of dismissal. Obviously, you have something in mind, but I don’t know what to do with this, so it’s up to you to tell me.

Thank you. I love this. Expressing appreciation to the creator is enough. The rest is communicated nonverbally. How long you linger. The details you notice. The smile of wonder that forms on your face. The way you give the creation a place of prominence. How each time you reflect upon it, you’re filled with wonder all over again.

As August’s host of Spiritual First Thursday, Carol Varsalona offers her thoughts on Nurturing Your Summer Soul. The beginning of her summer, Carol reports, was filled with the “hustle and bustle” of accomplishing tasks. Soon, she realized she was missing the opportunity to stop and relax. In Carol’s words, “It was time to reflect on my one word, appreciate.” And within her post, Carol shared the Meister Eckhart quote that opens my response.

Carol’s discussion of appreciation carried my thoughts to the assertion that true praise is expressed as appreciation. And that path led me to question how I show appreciation to the Creator.

Do I sometimes approach what is given to me as if it is incomprehensible? Do I inadvertently dismiss it because I don’t want to invest time in wonder and contemplation? Do I always feel the need to do something with it? Truly, all I need to do is pause and say Thank you. I love this.

So, this morning as I drove a well-worn path, I allowed myself to marvel at the majesty of a canopy road. To drink in the lush green covering, find respite in the shade, and delight in the patterns made by sunlight as it trickled through the leaves.

I reflected upon the places I have visited this summer, from far-off majestic mountains, to lovely sunsets in my daily walks. From city streets to hallowed halls, from quiet lakes to rushing rivers. And even now, as I write, I pause to appreciate the beauty of stately pine trees and dappled sunlight just outside my window.

And I say to the Creator, Thank you. I love this. And that is enough.

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