I enjoy a good book: a well written novel or a book related to spirituality, theology or psychology. All of these books usually feature a section at the beginning called Acknowledgements where the author thanks all the people who nurtured the book into creation. Often the section begins by thanking the editor and readers, those who checked historical or theological facts and administrative support, etc. Words of thanks to the spouse and children for giving them the support and space needed to write may come from a married author. If the author is a member of a religious community there are words of thank you to the community for their support, encouragement and understanding. The author often lists friends, those who believed in the author, giving encouragement in difficult times as the book evolved. I enjoy reading the Acknowledgments sometimes as much as I enjoy reading the rest of the book. Why? The Acknowledgements give me information about the author. The author’s name appears on the cover, yet the author wrote the book with the help and care of all those mentioned in the book.
Acknowledgments in the front of a book remind me of life. Just as an author presents her or his book to the world as their own, they are aware that the care of many people nurtured the book along. In a similar way, we present ourselves to the world yet others nurture us with caring love, support, concern, encouragement. It is difficult to go through life alone.
In the Gospel of John from the Christian scriptures, we hear that Jesus embodied the qualities of a shepherd. Jesus was a companion to others bringing out the best in each person. Jesus showed care and concern. Jesus’ strength was in the Divine and prompted mindfulness, compassion and attentiveness to others. We too are companions to others.
Rooted in the Divine we are supportive, attentive, compassionate, looking out for others with care and concern. Just as a person writing a book may need more intentional support, there are times in our lives when we need more support and are grateful for the caring spirit of others who shepherd us through the passages of our lives.
We remember with gratitude those who offer caring support in the midst of our life’s passages. We are mindful of those who may need extra care as they navigate through various passages in their lives.
Blessings and peace