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  • Writer's pictureElisa Juarez


November 13, 2022

“Harvest is a joyful time of gathering the produce of the land.” ― Sunday Adelaja

As Thanksgiving approaches, I’m looking forward to some time off to rest and reflect on the past year, to gather “the produce of the land” in which I’ve been living. I realize there are pieces of myself and my life that need attention. It takes time to gather my thoughts, energies, and intentions and shape them into something valuable. The days and weeks slip by so fast, and I’ve been longing to hit the pause button.

Since my dad’s passing, I have been busy with work and communications and forms to sign. The box containing his ashes is tucked inside a black canvas tote bag under a chair in my bedroom. The day that I picked up the box and brought it home, I just wanted to sit quietly with it for awhile. I really needed to pause and be present with that piece of my dad’s life and mine. Instead, I got busy sending death certificates and documents out to the parties that needed them. In that afternoon I had taken off work, I had lots to get done. I placed the box and my heart’s longing aside and kept going.

Now it’s November which holds so much: my dad’s birthday, the anniversary of my mom’s passing, and Thanksgiving. I need to pull into a rest stop on this road I’m traveling. It’s time for gathering the pieces that have been broken and scattered, the fragments of grief and joy. Holidays are before me, and holy-days behind me.

Slowing down allows us to gather our energies and focus. When we give ourselves space to think, create, and recharge, we uncover hidden gifts. We gain strength and clarity to make healthy choices. We remember who we are.

Gathering with family and friends is also a special part of the holidays. That, too, can renew our spirits and our sense of belonging.

“This is the power of gathering: it inspires us, delightfully, to be more hopeful, more joyful, more thoughtful: in a word, more alive.” –Alice Waters

The world can take a lot out of us and make our heads spin. Hope and joy get depleted amid the noise and busyness of our lives. We need calming, gathering activities for body and soul. For me, these include writing, yoga, walking, spending time in nature, and relaxing with friends.

It takes discipline to create time and space for our own healing, but this is how we also heal the world. When we gather our own pieces and discern what can be released, what to hold and cherish, and where we can bring order and harmony, we find wholeness. As we increase our sense of gratitude, we see more beauty and grace in our world. Giving and gathering become easier, and our collective brokenness begins to heal.

Grace & Gratitude,


Elisa J. Juarez

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