I never imagined we would harvest nearly thirty butternut squash from volunteer plants growing out of the compost we dumped on our garden. What joy to have abundance enough to share!

Listening to zoom presentations and conversations with Irish poet and theologian Padraig O’ Tuoma added to the feeling of abundance this past week as well. Though he was sad not to be in Harrisonburg in person, presenting at local universities because of COVID, I know I attended more sessions online than I would have in person. His many stories and insights were healing and provocative. His book, In the Shelter: Finding a home in the world follows the theme that “It is in the shelter/shadow of each other that people live.” In our sharply divided political climate, it was good to hear encouragement not to abandon relationship with others–particularly those we disagree with. We abandon relationships often based on fear and a scarcity of grace.

Last Friday, I did not attend the funeral service of feisty Aunt Helen in central Pennsylvania because I felt it would be too hard not to hug or shake hands with the gathered relatives that would come from who knows where–even with masks and social distancing. Her funeral was juxtaposed with the death of another woman of character and purpose, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Their dedication to service–Helen as a nurse, Ruth as a lawyer–attested to lives of abundance, giving of themselves to others. Our memories of them will hold blessing.

Sunday’s hike on Turk Mountain surprised me with the politeness of nearly all other hikers who wore masks or turned away when passing people on the trail. I felt an abundance of kindness there. The banks of blooming goldenrod, interspersed with wild purple asters were also abundant and beautiful.

Yesterday I spent time in the afternoon with a neighbor’s child who is receiving schooling at home due to the virus. He seemed delighted to be off his chrome book and do person-to-person activities that included drawing, Spanish practice, and a card game. His politeness and joy added a bright spot to my day as well.

Finally, we discovered that the 25 sweet potato plants we put in my sister’s garden had produced tubers beyond our expectations. First, I cut off copious vines with a butcher knife. My husband dug and dug, and I sorted by size and appearance. They yielded nearly four bushel. We are truly thankful for this abundance that will be shared among family and friends. Indeed, it was a week filled with abundance.

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