A time to share spirit of gratitude


By: April Murray
   As my second year of being a single parent approaches, I feel a deep sense of gratitude for all the good I’ve been blessed with on a daily basis. Many individuals may have already seen television reports or read newspaper articles about how being single and/or a parent at the same time is more common today than ever before. I can definitely attest to this non-traditional family trend. So my gratitude is really an acknowledgement of these types of families and the support I’ve felt as a new resident of Princeton.
   Being a single parent is an adventure in finding and balancing appropriate child care, play-dates, quality time at home and enrolling in the extracurricular activities provided by community organizations such as the Princeton YMCA and others. Since moving to this community, my 6-year-old daughter has had the benefit of participating in ballet and swimming lessons, summer camp and numerous field trips to fun and interesting places. From a parent’s perspective it was a wonderful opportunity to have a few months to acclimate to new and yet familiar surroundings before the 2003-2004 school year began.
   As Thanksgiving approaches, making time for gratitude brings a sense of joy and peace. At this moment and beyond there are benefits to be found in expressions of gratitude that have a power to heal and transform lives.
   The smallest acts of kindness, compassion and generosity bless others and, in turn, the giver. I’ve been grateful for the driver courtesy from the folks in Princeton and for participation in community activities sponsored by groups such as the Arts Council and the library. The library’s knowledgeable and helpful staff as well as local merchants and houses of worship have offered continuous outreach and support.
   An author and spiritual pioneer that has been an inspiration to me during this time was Mary Baker Eddy, who faced the challenges of poverty, homelessness and single parenthood at a time when women had no rights. She insightfully wrote, "What is gratitude but a powerful camera obscura, a thing focusing light where love, memory and all within the human heart is present to manifest light."
   To share this spirit of gratitude, everyone in the community is warmly invited to join me and other Princeton-area neighbors at the upcoming Thanksgiving Day service at First Church of Christ Scientist, Princeton on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. The hour-long service includes inspirational music and readings from the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (also found on the Web at www.spirituality.com). There’s time for sharing gratitude for God’s goodness, grace and protection. No collection is taken at the service and child care is provided for young children. The church is located at 16 Bayard Lane.
April Murray is a resident of Princeton and is serving as an assistant, Christian Science Committee on Publication at First Church of Christ, Scientist, Princeton.