Thankfulness in the Ordinary

Ann Voskamp, author of “One Thousand Gifts”, the inspiration for much of this month’s material, is a master of words. Last night I read her description of a kitchen sink full of soapy bubbles. I got lost in phrases like “wonder and fragility quivers… and bulges. Merges. Ripens full round, time shimmering clear”. I mean I really did get lost. She’s trying to tell me something.

She’s a wee bit wordy for my simple mind.

But I appreciate the fact that she spent half a page describing bubbles, because, as she states, “And I only notice because I’m looking for this…”

When I first heard that Voskamp was challenged to make a list of one thousand things to be thankful for my eye brows shut up in to my hairline. One thousand things? Most of us, I think, would start the list with “family” and then we usually skip to health. Then, if you’re anything like me, the mind stops and thinks, “What else? Kids and Husband? Check. Good health? Check. Um… house? Okay, sure, it might not be the house I want, but okay, let’s put that on the list.”

I think I was stuck looking for the big-ticket items. But why did I think that?

Ann begins her list with “1. Morning shadows across the old floors 2. Jam piled high on the toast 3. Cry of blue jay from high in the spruce… That is the beginning and I smile. I can’t believe how I smile. I mean, they are just common things and maybe I don’t even know they are gifts really until I write them down and that is really what they look like. Gifts He bestows. This writing it down – it is sort of like… unwrapping love.”

If I kept waiting for the big-ticket items I might be left waiting a while. However, if I have eyes to see the little things that are all around me, every day, sometimes even in the seemingly mundane – like a sink full of soapy bubbles – then I am rich and how can I pass a day without crying out, “Thank You, God!”

Then I can live out thankfulness as I thank God for that which is all around me, that which He gave me.

I woke up early to write. It was meant to be a time set aside for checking things off the ever growing list, However, mothers of young children will understand, these special set-aside times wouldn’t feel quite right without a child (who is supposed to be sleeping) running around. Simon graced me with his very perky presence not fifteen minutes after I sat down at the computer!

But as I sit in this hour of not much productivity, I can be thankful in the hour of the ordinary (and I will not even try to be as poetic as Voskamp):

  1. I am kept warm by a blanket given to us by my sister-in-law.
  2. I have a large cup of clean water waiting in front of me.
  3. There is a loud two-year old voice behind me repeating, “I be Darf Vader, Mommy.”
  4. Books are scattered around me, the Bible is one of them, my love letter written by the Creator of the World.
  5. I listen to my custom made “Jesus Culture Radio” on Pandora.
  6. Breakfast will be served soon from the kitchen that is brimming with all of our favorite foods.
  7. Papers lie on the printer from my nine-year old’s newest business venture.
  8. A white piece of paper with scribble on it is precious because it is art from the two year old (who is now taking out three puzzles at once and repeating, “I found my puzzle, Mommy!”
  9. Floor puzzles are being taken out. He is now repeating, “Not working, Mommy. Not working.” No, Simon, it sure isn’t.
  10. It’s never quite how I imagined or hoped it would be, these new morning hours meant to be brimming with creativity and thought and meaningful writings. Instead it’s brimming with puzzles that “won’t work”, a little body climbing onto the counter to get breakfast for himself, and my mind halts. How can one think like this? But the worship song “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” reminds me to do just that. “Look full in His wonderful face and the things on Earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”
  11. My blanket is now taken away by the hungry boy who is now repeating, “I want ya-yas, please. I want ya-yas?”
  12. So I turn away from the writing and go to do the work of God. I’m about to serve Cheerios to a toddler and the LORD will smile at my ministry.
  13. Much to be thankful for.

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