It has been a very long time since I've written anything here, which I could chalk up to any number of reasons. Very busy. Writing energies elsewhere. Lack of inspiration. But one reason became abundantly clear to me as I began reading Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts this week. The writer-poet's words trace her own aching, triumphing path through pain to thankfulness in all things. This is no self-help, slap on a "Thank-you-Jesus-now-I'm-fine" attitude. It is gut-honest and God-glorifying, a rare combination. (Job comes to mind.) I am finding my mind fully engaged, as a self-described "farmer's wife" teaches me more about true philosophy than some of my professors have. My heart is also alert, taking in her stories, the Word of God, drawing conclusions about my own, weeping sometimes. For Voskamp, the center of our lives is eucharisteo, or giving of thanks - the words that Jesus spoke over the bread of His body (Eucharist), the words that Paul gave the suffering early church, the words that are lost on our 21st century ears unless we trace back and listen hard. Voskamp's confession is an invitation to us all to slow down, consider the details in our lives, and by being thankful, we unwrap God's gifts to us, one-by-one, both easy and difficult. A woman, up to her elbows in laundry and bread dough in rural America, echoes saints and prophets and philosophers of old and reminds us how to practice thankfulness. It is a pure joy.
What became apparent to me was that my main way for unwrapping of the Lord's many gifts to me was this place called lifelongfling. All these years, beginning with our voyage to France, and up until the present time (however erratic!), I have been creating a backlog of thankfulness. At least, I hope so. There is the crafting of words, the selection of images that captured a moment just-so, and the bringing together into a cohesive whole, trying to make a joyful noise. One Thousand Gifts is reminding me that writing is a holy calling, a naming of things that God brings before us, like Adam and the animals in the garden. Sometimes in the confusion of the after-fall, I feel like I'm just seeing prints in the snow, but I'm still called to name them as from the hand of God.
Definitely time to write again.