” Awakened by surprise, we can recognize that what we call a ‘given’ world is truly given. For we have not made it, earned it, or deserved it; chances are that we have not even fully approved of it. What confronts us is a given reality, and we recognize it as given. But only if we acknowledge this gift will our recognition lead to gratefulness. And acknowledging a gift may be far more difficult than recognizing it.” –Brother David Steindl-Rast, Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer
Last night I found unexpected solace in saying a bedtime prayer. My husband is out of town for a few days, and in that nearly quiet, I spoke to the air knowing that there is a force of great love in the reality of Jesus around me.
I mourned yesterday, again, in my soul and in my mind. Police raided what was left of Standing Rock camp, arresting a number of people. I pulled away long enough to dig in my garden and play baseball with my five year old, but my heart is so heavy with a years-and-years long reality that my native brothers and sisters are recognized as less than worth the energy and effort to be cared for.
Still, it isn’t over. Something has begun, so in my weariness I hold onto that reality. I pray and I rest and I remember and I educate myself and my boys.
But this morning, I need gratefulness. I need to recognize this life as a gift, and my response must be a response of gratitude for all I’ve been given.
Are you with me?
So, along with my dear friend Leanna and a few others, I count what I can be grateful for. These are simple and my words are few, because some days, gratefulness comes quietly.
- Smudging. Every afternoon I light sage, pray, and breathe. I began doing this a few months ago, and to my surprise, it became something I looked forward to every day. It calms me and cleanses me, reminds me to stop and to breathe— something we could certainly use a little more of these days.
- An afternoon at the river with our dog.
- A date night at an Irish pub.
- Progress on my book, with a fancy new hashtag: #gloryhappening! Join me in recognizing the glory of our everyday spaces, and share on social media where you find scared spaces, not unlike where we find spaces fit for gratefulness. I’ve got a national book signing date in October and a speaking slot at the Wild Goose Festival this July. I couldn’t be more grateful for the gift of writing.
- This guy and his heart for our family, his work, and the world.
- Flower Power, seriously. We live in a house that we’re told was once inhabited by a WWII widow, and her passion was plants. As spring approaches, we are greeted by southern blooms that I had no idea existed, and as we grow our own garden, her spirit rests with us in this place, especially in the heart of this five year old boy who loves nature to the very core of his being.
- And then, there’s this guy.You don’t know love for Legos until you meet him, because he spends his whole day in a LegoLand, fighting the bad guys and making the world right again.
“A lot of us religious types go around saying thank you to God when we find a good parking space, or locate the house keys or the wandering phone, or finally get a good night’s sleep. And while that may be annoying to the people around us, it’s important because if we are lucky, gratitude becomes a habit.” –Anne Lamott, Help Thanks Wow