Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transparent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. ~ Sara Ban Breathnach

Monday, October 24, 2011

Beginning sounds

This thanks that I am doing - it seems so ...crude. Trivial. If this list is the learning of the language of eucharisteo - this feels like...guttural groanings. ~ Ann Voskamp, "One Thousand Gifts"

If you read my blog last week, you know I made a fast trip to help Daughter #3 and crying Gabriel.  While the little guy cries A LOT, there are moments he smiles and coos, much like baby Emma.  Reading Ann's thoughts today on how her beginning list feels like guttural groanings...I thought back to how my heart smiled as Gabriel responded to me.

If that is true with me, that my heart smiled with Gabriel's beginning groans of speech, how much more might God smile with my beginning groans of learning to express eucharisteo?

Ann entitles Chapter 3, First Flight and begins with a quote by Sarah Van Breathnch:
Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.
Ann writes how a friend casually mentioned, "You've changed...It's that list you've been writing, isn't it?"

Obviously, having to prepare a sermon, parlor conversation, monthly session devotion..... Obviously, I read a lot of spiritual, biblical, healing and insightful thoughts.  However, Ann reminds me that in order to embrace, to live those things I read...I have to do something!
When one is thirsty one quenches one's thirst by drinking, not by reading books which treat this condition. ~ Pierre de Caussade
POW. That is one of those insights that hit me smack between the eyes! : )

If I thirst, I have to drink.

The only way to quench my thirst is to put all my books to the side and to bring the cup of life to my lips and take a drink. It is sort of like my yearning to learn how to knit. I can read and read and read, but until I pick up the needles and yarn, that yearning will never be satisfied.

If I thirst, I have to take an action.

Ann shares that she had no idea how to lay aside her books about eucharisteo but one morning she picked up a pen and began to write.  As she wrote she realized she was taking down, swallowing, the first real drink.  It was that first drink that began the transformation her friend noted, "You've changed..."

It is surprising what sometimes moves us to take a first step, in Ann's case it was a dare of sorts.

Like many of us this time of year, Ann's kitchen counter and desk was full of lists.  Lists of upcoming holiday menus, projects to complete, have-to-buys.....  In the midst of all the pre-holiday list making, a friend asked if she, Ann, could write a list of a thousand things she loves.
I read...again. As in, begin ANOTHER list? To name one thousand blessings - one thousand gifts - is that what she means? Sure, whatever. (Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts, p 45)
It sounds so simple.  Ann thought so as well.
Sometimes you don't know when you're taking the first step through a door until you're already inside. (Ibid)
Grabbing a scrap piece of paper Ann wrote "Gift List" at the top. Not gifts that she needed or wanted during the pre-holiday season, but gifts she already had.  Her gifts were simple.  Her beginning thoughts brought a smile to my face.
1. Morning shadows across the old floors2. Jam piled high on the toast3. Cry of blue jay from high in the spruce (Ibid)
Just common things, but maybe I do not even recognize the common things of and in my life as "gifts" until I pause, lay aside my books and take an action of writing them down.

I have begun such list, and hopefully I will continue my list as the busy holiday season comes upon me.  Hopefully I do this because I know in my heart by taking this step....this action....I do recognize these little things are indeed gifts!  Gifts that God bestows on me with love.

After my car accident I wrote how each day is a gift, but unless I unwrap that new gift every morning, it simply sits looking pretty.... but I have no idea what is inside unless I loosen the ribbon, tear off the tape and open!
This writing down - it is sort of like ...unwrapping love. It might fit like a glove.
16 Leafy life scent of the florist shop17 The creak of her old knees18 Wind flying cold wild in hair
 Ann realized the very action of writing her list, made her feel happy!

I understand.  Writing this blog, writing lists of gifts, reading my devotional.... These things seem to flip an inner switch of sorts giving me a new lens from which to see my day.

Ann writes how she likes the sense of happiness so she writes more...
I can hardly believe how it does that, that running stream of consciousness, river I drink from and I'm quenched in, a surging stream of grace and it's wild how it sweeps me away. And I add one more to the list. To feel it all again....yet...the list feels foreign, strange. Lone, I am woman who speaks but one language, the language of the fall - discontentment and self-condemnation, the critical eye and the never satisfied.
Ann shares her ah-ha that if all the "gifts" she was listing were gifts from God, then wasn't her action of writing them down like receiving taking them with thanks?

Giving thanks....
This crazy-dare gift list-it's language lessons in eucharisteo!
This realization was followed by the thought that her list seemed crude...trivial...the thought/quote I shared as I began this post.

I stopped here, thinking how my own lists have sometimes felt crude and I wondered if that is one reason I have laid them aside?

It is DIFFICULT to change!!!

Living a life from an attitude of gratitude doesn't just happen because I wish it or I read about it....I have to take intentional steps if I want to live from this place.  I have to be intentional.  I want to be intentional.  I don't "have" to do anything....I WANT to learn to live from an attitude of gratitude because I know I will experience peace and joy within not only my ordinary days, but also during those days that have shadows.

This is a new day, and for that I am grateful!

I want to think and consider how I can begin this acknowledging gifts/blessings in a way that will help me during the busy days to come.


Many Blessings ~ Sandi

1 comment: