Tuesday, April 5, 2011

During lent, or at least this last week of lent, I have decided to list 20 gifts every day. That has been nice, but that has left me with 140 things for last week, so I'm going to mix it up and just list a few. Rest assured, #1411 - 1531 are safely in my journal (and google docs).

There is no denying that gratitude is hardest when things aren't overtly wonderful. When I'm churning the wheels at a job that I'm still not sure exactly what I think of it, when a bike ride (with Loki) ends with a hurt ankle, when the pile of laundry doesn't ever seem to dwindle.

When I struggle to give thanks and to find things to pluck down with pen and keys:

**crisp walks in the dog**
**produce coming down in prices**
**fun, funky songs stuck in my head**
**tea and my bible in the morning (one of my goals this year was to read the new testament in 2 months, well, I didn't but I will get it done during lent)**
**the way Loki gathers all his toys in the living room**

When simply listing doesn't change anything, although it has changed me. The skies are still cloudy and the ground still muddy.

**a spontaneous trip to Marquette to see Christopher during a day when I wouldn't normally see him**
** waking up briefly to a kiss before he leaves for the day**
**sorting through things; a few boxes for Goodwill**

I grumble, ungrateful, cataloging the good but failing to see it - focusing on the clouds and the laundry and the pain.

**asking for forgiveness for an angry, ungrateful heart**

I cry frustration and hurt on my husband's shirt.

**his wise words**
**his fingers brushing away my tears**
**grace and forgiveness, given first by God then by my husband**

With repentance, struggle reaps fruit; with forgiveness, focus shifts to the good.

There will be cloudy and laundry and pain and all of those things do deserve a portion of my time and energy but by giving them my day, I make a statement about my day. Choosing to see the good, the blessings, the gifts while still wearing a rain jacket, folding laundry and taking advil and icing my ankle, is difficult. Being thankful for those things: rain jackets, folded towels, advil and ice is not my first instinct.

But in that kind of thanksgiving, though I don't have it all figured out, there is joy ... life ... peace.

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