I raced through my first reading of Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts, gulping it down, feeling the sharp pierce of pain that shattered hearts and dulled lives into numb existence, and nodding in agreement, through mouthfuls of words, at the discovery and practice of the life-giving, life-sustaining discipline of gratitude expressed with such aching beauty.
I am reading it slowly this second time, reading, re-reading lines, paragraphs, quotes; copying portions into my journal, thinking about the difference that the deliberate, frequent practice of gratitude has had at various points in my own life. I am also trying, once again, to be more deliberate about writing down some of the "small" gifts I notice and receive each day, pounding nails of gratitude to displace nails of accusation and scorn.
A few thank you's from my journal this past month:
203. quiet comraderie with sister and mother
204. buckwheat crepes filled with ratatouille
205. in tiny french restaurant, with dark wood walls and bottles
206. and open door that embraces sun drenched sidewalk and small shops
207. creeping in traffic past famous shopping circle with car show I had once imagined as a "possible weekend getaway" and realizing the stress the crowds and traffic would have caused us and the utter disappointment I would have struggled with at the unfulfillment of expectation of joy, had we made that excursion
208. passing many singles, couples, and families on the bike trails of this Gulf coast island
209. serendipitous happening upon weekend art show with travellers who want to "stop and take a look"
210. moments of reading stretched on pool deck lounge chair with bright music filling my ears
211. tiny, eager hands choosing packet of flower seeds to plant
212. same hands "needing" Grandpa's hammer to pound post on brick patio
213. scaffolding set up by the stucco crew and loaned to son for us to use for remainder of the rental month, giving us access to the second story roofline trim, soffit and walls to paint before the roofers install edging
214. Eli's enthusiasm for filling the fountain and mixing peat moss, vermiculite, and compost
215. Isaac's excitement over planting the seeds
216. morning songs of birds, calling to day
217. Eli, just shy of 4, swinging, laughing, "Look, Grandma! My shadow is following me!...Why is it following me?"
218. lightning flashing in black of early morning
219. doors open to all the sounds of first waterfalls, then fountains of rain from the roof and gutters, which eventually slow to a quiet drip and a whisper rain, and the birds begin their morning songs
220. the prized possession of berry stained face, tongue and fingers