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

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Living fully in the present...

"Jeremiah's letter is a rebuke and a challenge. Jeremiah may as well be saying, 'Quit sitting around feeling sorry for yourselves.' The aim of the person of faith is not to be as comfortable as possible, but to live as deeply and thoroughly as possible - to deal with the reality of life, to discover truth, to create beauty, to act out of love."  ~ Eugene Peterson, Run with the Horses, p. 152

I've previously admitted what I am doing in one area of ministry, leaks into another.  Today, I was reading Jeremiah in preparation for tomorrow''s Wednesday Lunch Bunch.  And...I was surprised to discover connections with my journey through Ann Voskamp's book, One Thousand Gifts.

History lesson:

Israel was taken into exile in 587 BCE. The people were uprooted from the place they had been born...the land in which their identity as "God's People" had been formed.  Eugene Peterson writes,
In the new land, Babylon, customs were strange, the language incomprehensible, and the landscape oddly flat and featureless. All the familiar landmarks were gone. 
Like the song from Les Miserables, the exiles dreamed a dream of a time....  They wondered when they would be able to go back home...back to "normal".

I sat with that thought for some time.  When I resist gratitude, I am often dreaming a dream of life as I  like... life that is comfortable with little or no uncertainties or pain....

I am beginning to gain a deep love of scripture.

Within these wonderful ancient words, I discover wisdom and truth that I can hold and live through today. When I do not read this sacred book as history, but as sacred a book of faith rather than history....I can find healing.

While some were predicting a time Judah would go home, Jeremiah told them to, "Build houses, live in them. Plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry. Have children. Invest in relationships..."

In other words, I hear Jeremiah telling me the only place I have in which to be human is right where I am now, in this live fully in the present and get on living the life I have in this present moment.  Not the life I had nor the life I wish for....the life I am living today.

And when I do this, Jeremiah tells me:
Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord. ~ Jeremiah 29:12-14 NIV
In other words...."San, look for God everywhere..."

Isn't that what striving to live from a place of gratitude is all about, seeing God in every circumstance? No matter how painful, how small, how beautiful.... seeing God.
Ann writes on page 58:
I know there is poor and hideous suffering, and I've seen the hungry and the guns that go to war. I have lived pain, and my life can tell: I only deepen the would of the world when I neglect to give thanks for early light dappled through leaves the heavy perfume of wild roses in early July and the song of crickets on humid nights and the rivers that run and the stars that rise and the rain that falls and all the good things that good God gives. Why would the world need more anger, more outrage?
Why would the world need more anger or more outrage?
How does it save the world to reject unabashed joy when it is joy that saves us? Rejecting joy to stand in solidarity with the suffering doesn't rescue the suffering. The converse does. The brave who focus on all things good and all things beautiful and all things true, even in the small, who give thanks for it and discover joy even in the small, who give thanks for it and discover joy even in the here and now, they are the change agents who bring fullest Light to all the world.
When I allow joy to seep into my soul...into the cracks where I am dry or broken...light begins to shine.
The clouds open when we mouth thanks.
I'm not sure whether Jeremiah was saying to be grateful, but he was saying To Live.... To Live Fully!

To live fully is to live seeking God in everything and everywhere.

Yesterday Ann wrote of using her camera as a hammer to nail lessons into life.

Yesterday Ann wrote of using her camera to snap a moment of gratitude for grated small and insignificant.... Seeking God in everything and everywhere...  Even in a mound of grated cheese.

Jeremiah, Job,  Eugene Peterson, and Ann Voskamp all with words to challenge me to live, to seek, to discover that which gives me full life.

Lord, just doing some rambling thinking this evening.  By your Spirit, help me connect the dots... AMEN.

Many Blessings ~ Sandi


  1. I'm thinking about the phrase, "back to normal".... And, living in the moment. I have yearned, cried, pleaded for life to return to normal...I have feared that the despair would be my new normal....and for almost two years it was...and worse, the five years before were not so good either, seven years of crap becoming crappier. I totally get Jeremiah, and Job. Lived it. But, oddly....choosing to live in that place/space brings with it peace, and surprisingly, hope! Weird. Grace. It happens!