Editor’s Letter November 2012

O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us, With ever joyful hearts and blessed peace to cheer us; And keep us in His grace, and guide us when perplexed; And free us from all ills, in this world and the next!
– From “Now Thank We All Our God”Lyrics by Martin Rinkart in 1636

I love that hymn,“Now Thank We All Our God.” It brings back memories of Thanksgivings past when my hometown held community Thanksgiving services and when my elementary school always—and I mean always—had a Thanksgiving play. Students from several grades dressed as Pilgrims and Indians and sang the timeless words of this old hymn. We live in a different day. I wonder if my grandchildren are taught about Thanksgiving in the same way. I learned in those grade school days to love my country, to cherish our independence, and to appreciate our dependence on the God who had so lavished His blessing on us. All of those memories undergird my thoughts on Thanksgiving decades later.

My husband sells French antiques, handwoven, one-of-a-kind oriental rugs, and amazing artifacts for people’s homes. The first time I went with him on a buying trip I trooped through acres of old things in awe of my surroundings. The romantic in me wandered through rows of chests, tables, chairs and armoires wondering about the previous owners—the families who had sat around the tables, opened the cupboard doors, and stored their worldly goods inside the armoires and buffets. “If walls could talk,” I mused. But the word that kept coming back to me again and again was this: authentic. These were not just things that looked pretty—they were well-made, works of art that had survived generations, history, wars, upheaval of every sort. And yet, these beautiful, though sometimes scarred things, had come through every challenge. They did not just survive the crazy world around them. They endured with a certain look of seasoned beauty—and what is more, they increased in value!

I have spent the last few days really thinking about that fact, and I find great comfort in the lesson. I also feel a tremendous sense of gratitude in this season of the year and in this season of life that such a thing is possible. Authenticity never goes out of style. Do you love that thought as much as I do?

I invite you to think “enduring values” as you read this month’s magazine. St. Dominic Health Services is near and dear to my heart as they were the very first advertiser who took a chance on this mid-life maven who decided to start a magazine with just an idea and absolutely no credentials. I love that when the Dominican Sisters determined that it was time to pass the torch to lay leadership they discarded denominational politics and focused on the mission of the hospital. It just so happens that their choice of a new leader was not a Catholic at all. Now, that, dear readers is the church as it should be. That is the gospel—and that is Jesus. The values at St. Dominic, however—well, they are unscathed by the changes— because you see, they are authentic.

We feature the Boy Scouts in our Salt and Light section this month. Troop 18 has been around since the 1920s, and though the leadership and the Scouts themselves have changed a lot in those years, the mission and the values and the core purpose remains the same. Why is that? Why have Boy Scouts who have not altered their mission or their values in their 102-year history remained “relevant?” Could it be that there are just some values that meet a need, that fill a hole inside of us, and that something connects on an inexplicable soul level that is meaningful? It speaks to us in a place that only God’s voice can penetrate. Maybe?

As always, our contributing writers have put their heart into the offerings here. I honestly believe they have given something for everyone. Lydia’s recipes are such that even I think I might be able to pull off a Martha Stewart moment. Amy Ingram in “Single Still, Single Again,” has written a piece that will resonate with every “single” out there. Of course, I love that God uses her puppy, Mabel, to teach her lessons. Martin Willoughby’s thoughts on unconditional love will have you thinking twice before you throw the word “love” around to describe everything from pizza to your newborn with 10 fingers and 10 toes!

I could go on and on, but I think I have exceeded my allotted word count. Oops—again.

So many wishes for a meaningful and reflective Thanksgiving—and prayers that God draws you close to Him to build your own authenticity and conform you a little more to His beautiful and enduring image. Happy days in the coming season to you and yours!