There are plenty of aspects to this week that left me tired and fretful, but this morning I remembered this beautiful act of resistance, started by my dear friend, Leanna. For a year, every Friday, she’s resisting by engaging gratitude, seven gratitudes for seven days of the week.
Let me tell you a little about this woman. She will speak and she won’t be silenced, and her voice, I believe, can move mountains. She is the friend that sat with me on our black couch as I unpacked the fresh news that I was going to really, truly, write a book, and she took it and held it and walked the journey with me with courage and grace.
So I follow her lead today, naming seven gratitudes of this week, and we ask you to join us, here in the comments or on Facebook or wherever your social community is, using #sevengratitudes — so what are you grateful for?
Here is what I find:
- VOICE. I’ve heard my toddlers protest with thousands of people and that’s no small act. It’s taught me that even the tiniest may speak, whether they are heard or not. Voice transcends boundaries of age, race, sex, religion– it is a powerful tool needed in this world. I’m writing a letter to Donald Trump every week, and this week I used my voice with pen on paper to send a message. It was one of the most powerful moments to put that in the mailbox and send it straight to him, a promise that my voice will not be silenced.
- THE FLASH. At night, we are tired, and we’re watching this superhero drama The Flash– and what gets to us is the powerful connection between a son and his father, who is wrongfully in prison, and their relationship with the dear friend who raised the boy from childhood. It speaks to relationships, and we could always use more of that, right?
- THE RESILIENCE OF MY PEOPLE. Despite everything that’s happened with memorandums or decrees or executive orders relating to pipelines, Standing Rock natives remain strong and peaceful, and I couldn’t be more proud of their prayerful resistance. I’ve never felt more connected, not just to my Potawatomi/Chickasaw/Cherokee people, but to native peoples and non-natives who genuinely care for this earth and her future.
- OUR DINING ROOM TABLE. Yesterday, I asked the boys what they wanted to do, anything at all (besides watching cartoons). My oldest chose to color and play with Legos, and my youngest chose the same. We spent the morning at the dining room table, mostly quiet, mostly in our own worlds, but thoroughly enjoying each other’s company. I read to them from Little Men while they played on the living room floor. I watched them again last night at dinner, watched them as they named imaginary superheroes names like “Witch Toot,” laughing their little heads off while my world spun like mad inside me. They had raw and high strung emotions yesterday, because they’ve felt it and seen it on our faces this week. They know what a protest is, they know what is right and wrong, what hurts and heals. I’ve had to explain to them why we might be on our phones/computers more lately, that we’re trying to pay attention to some of the news of this week. They were raw yesterday because we’ve been raw. But that table is a sacred space, a safe space for all of us. I see fire inside of them, the same fire that’s been lit in me. They create the world every single day that they breathe and ask all those questions. They create the world because they are the world, and this old table reminds me of that.
- MY HUSKY’S HOWL. Any time I hear a siren, no matter where I am in my city, I hear my old husky howl. As small a thing as this is, he is our kind constant, an old, stoic Siberian who watches our world and protects us in it, a kind and gracious comforter.
- CANDLE FLAME. I lit candles in my house one morning, sort of holding a vigil of prayer and quiet for this week. Today we are cleaning, cleaning out what’s old, clearing dishes away, celebrating my husband’s birthday, making space to breathe. And I’ll light my candles and their tiny flames will remind me that light is meant to be kept and shone, and it cannot be put out.
- MARY. I grew up watching Nick at Night. If you’ve watched The Mary Tyler Moore Show, you’ll understand the significance of my sister naming one of her daughters Rhoda. The Dick Van Dyke Show, I Love Lucy, and others, for some reason, kept me safe in this womb of nostalgia that I couldn’t understand. I watched an episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show yesterday afternoon, remembering those moments as a child when everything was breaking around me– I was safe with these women in their homes. As a beautiful soul from this world has gone, so we make way for more beauty to come forth from her legacy.
There now, that was therapeutic for me. So what about you?
Finally, I leave you with a Wendell Berry poem, and pray that you close out your week with less grief and more joy, with less boxed in stress and more of the great outdoors and what she can teach you:
“The Peace of Wild Things” by Wendell Berry
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.