Sunday, May 1, 2011

Even in the Small

"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 here and now, they are the change agents who bring fullest Light to all the world.  When we lay the soil of our hard lives open to the rain of grace and let joy penetrate our cracked and dry places, let joy soak into our broken skin and deep crevices, life grows.  How can this not be the best thing for the world?  For us?  The clouds open when we mouth thanks."      Ann Voskamp in One Thousand Gifts  (p. 58)

I know how much better I feel and how much better everything seems when I can see the positive and see what there is that is good.  That doesn't mean I want to close my eyes to what is not good and what needs to be changed.    It doesn't mean being blind to the difficulties and the struggles or refusing to acknowledge that they are there.  Not at all.  It just means that I want to keep my eyes fixed on what is good, on what is God.  Not only is that what I want, but I believe it is what God wants of me, of us.

And so I begin my list of one thousand gifts, of seeing God in the large and small, of opening the soil of my life to the rain of grace.

Thanks, God for:
1) the first sip of chai tea in the morning, and the feeling of aaaaaaah
2) the sun on my face as I sit on my front step (despite the coolness of the air - or maybe because of it)
3) the blanket of hugs warming my knees as I sat in the sun on a cool Good Friday morning
4) birds singing to show that spring IS coming
5) the delight of opening and beginning a new journal
6) the surprise and delight of a package appearing on the front step
7) the love demonstrated through the gift in that package - a quilt from a former student - WOW!
8) plants poking up green shoots from the dark, cold soil
9) a Christmas cactus blooming at Easter
10) butter melting on a warm bran muffin
11) Stuart McLean and the Vinyl Cafe
12) medical care
13) words of encouragement at church
14) singing songs celebrating Christ's resurrection
15) laughing with children
16) smiles showing love
17) children jumping in for a hug
18) voice mail messages of encouragement
19) watching children delight in being with their mother
20) listening to parents console a child
21) feeling too hot sitting outside - this after the winter with no end
22) the refreshment of water
23) the effectiveness of pain control
24) the smell of sunscreen
25) the need for sunscreen
26) the sight of a bound edge on a quilt
27) the feeling of accomplishment when a quilt is finished
28) falling asleep on the couch
29) spontaneous gifts
30) spontaneous invitations
31) a child's small hand clasping my hand
32) the interplay of the instruments in an orchestra

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