Hey, y'all, and happy Easter! <3
I'm again stopping to practice gratitude in the midst of deadlines and library camp outs.
Grad students around the globe are deep in the pit of final exams, term papers, and the general end-of-term hoopla. As one of them, I cannot say why counting blessings is important right now, much less why blogging my thanksgivings makes any sense. Because it doesn't. Gratitude does not make sense. It is absurd, like most holy things.
Gratitude does not make sense, but it does offer the grace to keep going. It empowers me to clue into the ways God is with me, how She is in my work and just ahead calling me onward.
Gratitude does not make sense, but it makes me whole, reminding me of my place in God's embrace and the beloved community.
Stopping to look for Jesus in the midst of all this crazy does not make sense, but it helps me remember the Big Picture and the One who can see it.
So I guess I'll keep counting, and I'll invite you to join me.
This week I am grateful…
For the hospitality of friends-who-are-family and the faithfulness of Greenwood Forest Baptist Church.
Wes and Meg hosted us for Easter Triduum. It was a gift of heaven to be with our dear friends—to relax together, talk and talk some more, make food, get haircuts, and beat “Oregon Trail!”
It was also a gift to worship with their faith community at Greenwood Forest Baptist Church. I so appreciated their thoroughly Baptist and thoroughly liturgical expressions of praise. Each service was so carefully crafted to create space for both God and the gathered community. I felt supported, challenged, invited, and home—
Perhaps I will have the chance to essay more on this experience at some other point. For now I will just say that Easter morning felt like a homecoming--to the universal church, the whole Body of Christ. I felt my place in the Body with my sisters and brothers at Greenwood Forest, and the Spirit gave me new breath.
For the Hallelujah Chorus, for Mrs. Stroud—my high school chorus teacher—who taught me my part in it, for the trans-dimensional experience of communal joy, praise, and gospel proclamation that it is.
At some point during the Easter service I glanced forward in my order of worship and was delighted to find the Hallelujah Chorus listed as the postlude with a note inviting anyone who wished to go up and join the choir for the singing! After only a second’s hesitation (I was a visitor; I wondered if it would be weird or distracting if a stranger strolled up and joined the choir), a warm and wondrous excitement filled my entire being. You know I went up there.
There is something utterly sacred about being part of a choir. While we sang I felt the entire world; all of us, all matter and existence, rejoicing in "the Kingdom of our God."
For the fleeting fun of smoothed hair.
My hair is curly, wavy, big, and wild—kinda like the rest of me. It was a crucial moment in my development as a teenager to come to a place where I accepted my hair and stopped trying to train it to look the way I thought other people wanted it to look.
I learned to love my hair and, thus, love myself.
Wes and I needed haircuts before Easter this past weekend, so we decided to take a family trip to Great Clips. (Please enjoy that scenario; I surely did. It doesn't really matter what you do with friends--just about anything can be fun with people you love!) My curly-haired sisters will know that it's always better when WE handle our own curls, thank you very much, so, for convenience sake, I asked the hairdresser to style my locks smooth for the holiday. The whole process took about an hour and a half.
It was worth it.
Smooth hair is not better, in my opinion; it is just different. Different is okay. And sometimes fun. :)
For my female colleagues and feminine brain power.
The Wake Forest University Grad Lounge was an all-woman affair Tuesday night. I had a moment of thankful joy and holy affirmation when I looked up from my reading (a 1913 history of Baptist women overcoming the patriarchy, by the way) and saw my sisters hard at work. I am so encouraged by the women who were in that room and the unique stories that led each of us to WakeDiv.
I'd like to think we're following in the Magdalene's footsteps:
For the magic of old books.
For one of my term papers I get to use a first edition book in the Special Collections at Wake's Library. This is a simple pleasure, for sure, but I really feel like Lucy when she finds the Book of Incantations--
For the chance to celebrate with a bride.
Last night a big group of us got to celebrate Laurie and her upcoming nuptials--two weeks from tomorrow! <3 It was a blessing to share in her joy and anticipation of the coming sacrament. I loved how each woman present at the shower responded and resonated with Laurie's love story in different ways; I caught a glimpse of how the marriage of two miraculously enriches the lives of us all.
We celebrated at the end of a long week of classes with finals not far from anyone's mind. The words of this prayer floated on the surface of my consciousness during the bridal shower, as did the words of a fellow blogger (please see this beautiful and brief post over at Through A Glass Darkly):
Watch, O Lord, with those who wake, or watch, or weep tonight, and give your angels and saints charge over those who sleep. Tend your sick ones, O Lord Christ. Rest your weary ones. Bless your dying ones. Soothe your suffering ones. Shield your joyous ones, and all for your love’s sake. Amen.
I pray the love and support of her sisters form a shield in God's hands around Laurie's joy as she walks with her Adam in this wild and precious time.
For the surprising ways plans are falling into place—that there is always a way forward.
There are so. many. logistics. to figure out about the next eight months. Where to live, when to move, which companies to employ, who to fly with, which classes to take, when to travel, when to stay home...It's nuts. Seems impossible. And then, lo and behold, a possibility arises that we did not see before. Friends offer their homes and sunrooms. Others lift up prayers and share important practical wisdom. I am thankful for possibilities and for the grace I need to let go of certainty so that I can wade into wonder of what-ifs. I am thankful for the folks who meet me there. I am thankful for a God who loves us too much to shirk adventure, who calls us forward into the unknown, who wants us to go with Her.
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.