It is two minutes past eight. The sun has gone to bed. The children are asleep. The house is quiet, almost. The kitchen hums with the sound of drying tomatoes fresh from our garden. The gentle and rhythmic breathing from my youngest at my side. The wood lapped by the flames in the stove. These are the sounds wrapping me up like a warm, soft blanket as I reflect.
This weekend I rediscovered a book (One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are) loaned by a friend while I was on bed rest. The author, Ann Voskamp, weaves her journey about the beauty of giving thanks for the little things in breathtaking precision. Her words are poems set to ink and I am inspired.
Gratitude for the seemingly insignificant — a seed — this plants the giant miracle. . . Do not distain the small. The whole of life — even the hard — is made of up the minute parts, and if I miss the infinitesimals, I miss the whole. These are new language lessons, and I live them out. There is a way to live the big of giving thanks in all things. It is this: to give thangs in this one small thing. The moments will add up.
Ann is chronicling her journey created in response to a “dare” of sorts to journal 1,000 things (blessings, gifts) in her life.
I, too, had read it often, the oft-quoted verse: “And gift thanks for everything to God the father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20). And I, too, would nod and say straight-faced, “I’m thankful for everything.” But in this counting gifts, to one thousand, more, I discover that slapping a sloppy brush of thanksgiving over everything in my life leaves me deeply thankful for very few things in my life. A lifetime of sermons on “thanks in al things” and the shelves sagging with books on these things and I testify: life-changing gratitude does not fasten to a life unless nailed through with one very specific nail at a time.
It is a simple yet profund task, to be present enough, aware enough to notice, name and record the small miracles that surround us. And they are not really small, just often overlooked in the maturing of our priorities and the shuffling of our tasks. I feel slightly primed for this challenge of naming 1,000 things. ”There is always something to be thankful for” can often be heard from my lips. Yet I find that the task is even more eye opening when done deliberately. I take up the journal also gifted and begin to capture my list.
*plump, warm cheeks to kiss
*Hunters upturned voice encouraging Quinten
*a first night in a boy boy bed
*unpacking winter clothing in preporation for a new season
*hot cocoa, warm to the lips
*sunlight dancing off of sparse tree leafs
*a mountain of chopped wood, waiting for the fire
*young, plump thighs, soft and warm
*delighted shrills and thrundering feet
*the taste of freshly squeezed apples, fresh on my tongue
*young lips, pursed to an exaggerated pout, red to burst forth into a cry
*the scent of wood, split and raw
*long, dark eyelashes, closed over eyes that have yet to see pain
*father cuddled close to his children, reading a book with enthusiastic vigor
*miniture hands, dimpled and round
*a cozy moment by a wood filled fire
I lay my pen aside and breathe deep. My life is full indeed. I am blessed beyond measure.