One neglected tradition I’d like to resume this season is posting more consistently from my gratitude list…maybe not every Thursday, but frequently. And, I would love to have you join me!!
This practice started years ago, during Lent and you can read more about that here: http://brendazook.weebly.com/blog/living-lent
I’ve tried to “move on” from The List several times, to no avail. Perhaps it is the perfect fit for me – a daily list for a chronic list maker. But this list is different.
I don’t check things off,
I add them on,
line by line,
seven items a day, my list of thankfulness.
But most days my list is filled with ordinary moments where I caught a glimpse of something More. Moments when I paused just a second longer, where I sat and waited, and felt gratitude wash over me in a wave of unexpected joy.
And then there are days (like Wednesday) when I feel like I am barely making it, when life is harder than I ever thought it would/should be, when finding moments for gratitude doesn’t even make my “to do” list.
Those are the days I need my list the most.
So, whatever kind of day you are having, let me urge you to begin the keeping of The List. I think you will find it habit forming in the best possible way…Here we go, for today:
Thursdays are for thankfulness – gratitude for big lessons from small things.
Planting seeds is a form of Hope Therapy. It means the planter believes that life goes on, that the end of summer isn’t really The End; it’s just a transition to What’s Next. I like seeing more brown earth in the garden now that the growing season is fading, but I miss the fresh newness of spring. These little shoots help me to embrace what’s coming with the promise of just a few more green salads from Hickory Lane before…(you know…snow.) Transitions tend to be big stress points on Hickory Lane, and I need this reminder to look for little green shoots, to find ways to ease through the change without denying it, to hold on to hope, to remember that this isn’t the end. It’s just a transition to “What’s Next.”
This little fellow showed up two days ago from who knows where. When I saw him perched on that floating leaf, a living illustration from a children’s storybook, I thought maybe it was worthwhile after all to have invested in yet another (non-blooming) pond lily. Life is like this, regularly. You invest in something with a goal to an expected end, and it just doesn’t bloom. The leaves float there, lonely and forlorn, and not even a hint of a bud appears. It seems it was all for nothing. And then a little frog shows up and you realize that while it wasn’t how you planned it, life is still good.
These small creatures of delicate beauty seem to love the unsightly, bulky wire(s) that crisscross the view above my garden. Not just the ordinary birds, but all of my special favorites -hummingbird, tree swallow, bluebird, goldfinch, orchard oriole-perch and preen and sing from The Wire.
And I’ve noticed something: That old wire doesn’t seem so ugly when tiny wings are resting there, held above impossibly thin legs with even thinner toe/claws clinging tightly to The Wire. My perspective is being altered because my beloved birds spend so much time perched on it, suspended above the garden as I work. Oh, the transformation that happens when perspective is refocused.
These crazy vines have been surreptitiously attempting to take over the garden. The asparagus patch is a snarl of vines, as are the cosmos plants in the east corner of the garden. Worst of all, the heirloom yellow rose bush is disappearing, and de-vining those thorn covered branches will be painful.
But look at that blossom. The exquisite beauty of these flowers cannot be ignored. And the leaves are heart shaped, so there’s that. Some days it’s important to be watchful for beauty and signs of God’s love in unlikely places.
Most days, long hours for quiet reverie don’t exist for most of us. Life goes zipping along at full speed, and the luxury of long lazy days is only a dream or a vacation destination that happens annually at best.
But moments? Everyone has moments. The pauses between the happenings of our lives are waiting to be noticed and claimed.
Look around (and let the phone alone for a bit. That little piece of technology is nibbling away at irretrievable moments.) Really see what is around you.
Listen for…whatever you might hear. Bird song. Children’s laughter. Silence. The ticking of the wall clock, marking the seconds of your moment of pause.
Taste/Smell/Touch…glass of cold water when you've finished mowing, new bar of soap in the shower, hair swirling in a light breeze...
Find your small reasons for gratitude
and listen for the big lessons God has for you along the way.
Thursdays are for thankfulness…
but any day is a good day to start The List!!