Gratitude is a dynamic and paradoxical phenomenon.
As my spirituality professor pointed out this week, I must attest to the way gratitude is both a spontaneous experience and a cultivated practice. It is both a gift to receive and a choice to be made.
The two experiences relate to and support one another. The practice part—the intentional reflection upon one’s life with thanksgiving in mind part—influences, especially, the frequency of those moments of spontaneous experiences of gratitude, those moments when deep-seated thanksgiving swamps in and rolls over your whole person, flowing out into sighs of praise.
The more we continue to practice gratitude, the more our senses fine-tune themselves to the glorious wonders waiting at every turn.
This resonates deeply with this #SevenGratitudes thing we’ve got going here. From my viewpoint here at volume 11, I’d say thanksgiving is popping out all over.
If you are new to the gang, welcome. Every Friday a band of defiantly thankful women (so far it has been a purely feminine affair) gather ‘round this cyber hub and form a circle of gratitude—a community of intentional hallelujah.
I’m glad you’re here. See below for ways to join in!
This week I am grateful:
For the ways friends hold our hurts with us and help us to endure.
I have been wrestling through a few personal things this week while also mourning the death of a colleague from Peacehaven. I have noticed that when I am in pain or feel insecure, I can get quite grouchy and kind of touch-me-not. It seems most natural to pull away from others. However, pulling away usually causes more pain (and pulling away would definitely break my Lenten intention this Year). We were all made for community.
I found solace in my friends at school on Tuesday.
We were at the community lunch table and I don’t know what in the world came over me but I just came out and said, "Y’all, I am having a really rough time with xyz this week. I just need someone to know about it.” The women at that table (and dear Adam, Laurie’s fiancé) responded with such grace. They neither coddled me nor scorned my pain. They gave me their honest sympathy and emboldened me with their strength, rekindling the memory of my own.
I walked lighter after that.
That Dorothy Day wrote an autobiography.
The words of Dorothy Day were assigned to me this week and I do not think they could have come at a better time.
As I read through the ins and outs of her interesting and completely foreign-feeling life, I am drawn to the mysticism she both discovered and actively infused in the mundane. In all her communist newspaper writing, suffragette hunger striking, with the poor identifying, and Catholic Worker Movement starting, Dorothy Day almost always mentions supper--who made it, where it came from, and sometimes even how much it cost.
Dorothy Day—the revolutionary, the bad ass, the absolute sinner and utter saint (though she wouldn't like me to call her that last one)—knew the sacred work of home economy. Only, her notion of Home was a lot larger than most anyone I’ve read.
I am thankful for spiritual mothers, for midwives of justice and leaders in mercy.
That a glorious end is in sight!
I had what should be my final academic advisement at Wake Forest School of Divinity yesterday.
If you want to see something funny get two theologians in a room and have them do maths. It just about did us IN yesterday when we attempted to audit my courses for graduation. If our calculations are correct, however, I should be in the clear for graduation in December—which will open the Coyle-Carr household to all sorts of glorious possibilities.
I am thankful for my divinity journey (the gratitude I feel for Wake Div is beyond any words I could string together right now). There is not an ounce in me that wants to wish it away, but, wow, it felt good to see the finish line just ahead.
For warm sweaters and layers on rather blustery days.
Winter came back this week with a blustery attitude. I found it a joy to cuddle up in my soft sweaters, comfy flannels, and fleece blankets while I studied the hours away. And, of course, to be reminded of Pooh's wonderful little voice and sense of trepidatious adventure.
Simple pleasures, aye?
For my KitchenAid.
We can do so many wondrous things in our kitchens these days at the freakin’ flip of a switch. Thankful for tools that make life-sustaining creativity an efficient pleasure.
Especially ones that make cake. I like cake.
For being called by name.
My colleague Erica turned around yesterday before class began and called me by name--“Leanna, how are you doing today?”It was 3:24 p.m. and I think it was the first time I had heard my name all day, maybe even in a few days.
She looked me in the eyes and leaned in to listen, “What has been the highlight of your day so far?”
Honestly, I think it was that moment right there—that moment of being named and called forward in vulnerable interest and Christian love.
For St. Patrick.
Happy St. Patrick’s day, beloveds, from the depths of my Irish-American heart. ;)
Patrick was one of the first to bear the gospel in Ireland. Between he and Brigid, the entire island converted to Christ--without bloodshed. The story is even stronger when I remember that Patrick was taken as a slave to Ireland as a youth.
I am thankful to remember a brother whose experience of Christ's love healed and empowered him to move beyond hate--that allowed Patrick to bear the good news to those who had done him harm.
May the love of God enfold you and the mysterious power of the Most High encircle you in safety and peace--that you, too, may walk freely in love of the other.
Seven Gratitudes Link-Up
If you would like to join in on this weekly practice of gratitude and chicanery, grab yourself a button and link up with us here every Friday morning of 2017.
- Write a listicle about your seven gratitudes each week.
- Publish your piece with a link back to my blogpost on Friday mornings.
- And then link up with the form at the bottom of the page.