2. How do you start writing when someone else can say it so much more eloquently?
3. How do I start writing about something that is already a way of life to so many?
4. How do you start writing about something that embarrasses you because it has taken you so long to “hear” it?
I need to try to answer those questions because if I don’t, I may never get started. And, worse yet, something significant might be lost.
1. My fear is failure, because if I write, I have put myself out there for a few who know me well. They will know if I have failed. But then I ask myself, how do I NOT write about something potentially life-changing? For me, writing irons it out so I can see it better, holds it up to light, rotates it to study it from Monday morning angles which makes it less nebulous.
2. I could make a page of links to blogs, articles, amazing books, but then all my holding up, rotating in light would never take place. The time taken to “own it” would never happen. To succeed or fail, I must own it first, receive it. That means, for me, I must nail it down with His Words to ME and thoughts He gives to ME- all inspired by His Words to others through Scripture.
3. Humility is something I need to exercise. Often. If what I am learning is a lifestyle for many, why haven't I followed them more closely, spent time with them more often? In 29 years of knowing Christ, I will be taking my first steps to walk in this “new” way.
4. Again, humility-- If I had manifested more of it over the years, I may have seen this sooner. But I fight the flesh. I relish in doing it my way. And that only “works” for a very short while.
I’ve been reading Ann Voskamp’s blog on and off for a couple of years. Even as inspiring and other worldly as I find her writings, I don’t get to her site every day and not even every week. As I have clicked over the last several months, I have been noticing a list of sorts, a new logo thingy and “followers”. I kept telling myself I would look into it and never did. I kind of figured out it was some sort of thankful list which reminded me of something I had heard Oprah did years ago. I dismissed it. I also noticed that she had written a book, One Thousand Gifts, and that it was expected in January 2011. I had no idea the two things were related. A friend, who seems to be “in the know” on just about everything, texted me one night to tell me Ann’s book was released digitally EARLY because of so many requests for it. And so for my road trip reading, I downloaded One Thousand Gifts into my reader. I read...........and sat stunned.
I will not, cannot rehash the book here. You don’t want me to, I know, and besides, I haven’t even finished it. I stopped cold in the middle of chapter five because I had been given PLENTY to ponder and even more to practice. Here is the first highlight I made on page 21 and 22.
“Eucharisteo, thanksgiving, envelopes the Greek word for grace, charis. But it also holds its derivative, the Greek word chara, meaning, “joy”. Joy. Ah......yes. I might be needing me some of that. That might be what the quest for more is all about- that which Augustine claimed, “Without exception....all try their hardest to reach the same goal, that is, JOY.”
“Deep chara joy is found only at the table of the euCHARisteo-- the table of thanksgiving. I sit there long....wondering...is it that simple? Is the height of my chara joy dependent on the depths of my eucharisteo thanks?”
And so from page 22, I was on the edge of my leather Toyota seat. Regrettably, many of my days swell with complaints, only to spew onto Jeff when he returns home in the evening. Numerous times over these days of having school at home, he has encouraged me, asked me to tell him something good that happened during the day. Blank. Surely something did, but at 8:30 pm, I struggle to think. And everyday, I feel I the struggle. I dwell on kid's bicker, not enough empty calendar squares, dog hair I see everywhere, students who daydream and worse, complain...........hmmm, they get it honest. Jeff had made me aware, but I felt stuck. I continued to read and wondered: intertwined through my dailies, could the training of my eyes, my ears, my heart to SEEK His gifts to me, large and small, and to fully receive each one by THANKing Him bring me fullness of joy, life abundant? “Deep chara joy”? I kept reading and after a few more pages, I sought out some paper.
And because it was December 23rd and we were driving to South Georgia for Christmas, I wrote:
1. carols with Truth laden verses such as O Holy Night, O Little Town of Bethlehem, and Hark the Herald Angels Sing
2. Christmas cards from distant friends showcasing their beautiful broods of miracles
3. exit number 67 at midnight
4. tall, straight pines lining the road, taking us home
5. Mommas in robes with no make-up
6. sleeping in my childhood bed, seeing the same moon on the water
And so I began. This habit. This “driving out my habits of discontentment and driving in my habit of eucharisteo.” (pg.34) I will practice. I will ask the Spirit to help me see.
Does it seem silly to you? To thank God for sun-speckled water or white mocha syrup? I understand and she does too.
“Gratitude for the seemingly insignificant--a seed--this plants the giant miracle. The miracle of eucharisteo, like the Last Supper, is in the eating of crumbs, the swallowing down one mouthful. Do not disdain the small. The whole of a life-- even the hard--is made up of 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 thanks in this one small thing. The moments will add up.”
So, I will sow in the moments.
12. wonder of snowflakes least expected
13. son owning up to wrong chosen
14. sound of a camera capturing time
15. contented kids in hour 14 of road trip
16. J's that hook the wrong way on lined paper
17. daughter whistling while she works
I believe, for me, if I earnestly search for His work, His gifts, for HIM throughout my day, over the grid of the days, weeks and months on my calendar, joy will be a common adjective for the atmosphere of our home I am called to "make". It’s what I am requesting, for what I am praying.....fervently, desperately. Eucharisteo. Thanksgiving. Grace. Joy.
20. carefully studied and thoughtful words- of the Word- that move me to change
21. a book that pricks the heart
“Joy is the realest reality, the fullest life, and joy is always given, never grasped. God gives gifts and I give thanks and I unwrap the gift given: JOY.” (pg.39)
Want to join me? I must do it.
How can I not?