2022-11-20 stewardship witness by Danny Schweers.
Giving thanks is a cure for depression.
So claims my friend. At one time in her life she became so severely depressed she was institutionalized. Then she took up the practice, every day, of giving thanks for one hundred things, listing them. No gratitude was too small or too large.
If she was thankful for air or light or sound or quiet or water or food or just being alive, each was added to her gratitude list. In this way, giving thanks became a habit. She began looking forward to what was next, wondering what new pleasing thing was about to enter her life.
Am I simplifying her slow cure? Am I ignoring the many people and other practices that helped? Of course! But this one practice appeals to me, a sunny Polyanna. If anything, I am too often unreasonably buoyant and cheerful. What’s the opposite of deep depression? Is there a clinical name for it? Pathological Euphoria? Acute Polyannism? I certainly would not want to fall into that debilitating mindset. Even so, I think I will take the risk, just for one day, of giving thanks for one hundred things. Hopefully it will not put me over the edge. But when? What day? Let me pull up my calendar. Look at that! As it turns out, next Thursday is a day called Thanksgiving. What a coincidence! Thank God for coincidences!
Every week or so, I write something. This week, it is three things. How will I do it all?
Each week I pair text with a photograph I have taken. I call it a Photo Prayer and then email it to subscribers. All 754 of my Photo Prayers (each one a thanksgiving of sorts) are on my website, PhotoPrayer.com. The photograph and text above are my effort this week. But also this week I am supposed to write a short, inspirational essay for my church. I can use this! Also this week, I am supposed to write a short, inspirational witness for my church’s annual stewardship campaign. I can use this! Thank God for coincidences.
My church is not asking its members to spend Thanksgiving Day writing down one hundred things they are thankful for as the day goes by. Can you see it gathering and publishing a hundred thanksgivings from each of its members? Instead my church is asking its members to pledge.
New this year is that no one on the Stewardship Committee is talking about money. There is no financial goal for this year’s stewardship campaign. Instead, the goal is to have everyone pledge who considers themselves a member, with no amount too small or too large.
So here is my challenge to you.
Do you consider yourself a member of the Episcopal Church of Saints Andrew and Matthew in downtown Wilmington, Delaware? On Thanksgiving Day, instead of writing down the first one hundred things you are thankful for as the minutes roll by that day, make a pledge to SsAM.
If you already have made your pledge, thank you! I am thankful for everyone who supports this flawed but life-giving institution.
Above photo is of a cornucopia on the altar at SsAM, an arrangement by Flowers by Tino.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Danny N. Schweers chairs SsAM’s Communication Committee. He is an active photographer and writer. Click here to visit his website and make a comment.
Our stewardship campaign ends on November 20. Click here to make a Pledge for 2023. We are looking for everyone to pledge. Our goal is 100% participation, not any particular dollar goal. As of November 14, 2022, seventy-three pledges had been made.
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