For Windows (Again), Spiritual Practice, and Father Brown - Seven Gratitudes, vol. 17

Happy Friday, beloveds, and thanks for joining me again this week for Seven Gratitudes, a weekly gratitude practice with friends.

I hope this list begets your own moment of thanksgiving--and I'd love to hear 'em. Feel welcome to share a gratitude in the comments at the end of this post or over on Facebook. I relish the chance to celebrate that moment of grace with you!


This week I am grateful...

1

For these windows (again).

As Spring brought its generative self to bear on our back woods, I have been so grateful to watch and smell its work through our open windows. We still have the air-conditioning completely turned off (though we did set up a box fan this week to keep air flowing!), so I am able to hear all the life outside.

I am amazed by those beautiful, verdant, fluffy trees. I am blessed by the breeze as it sweeps through the wood and then through our apartment, indiscriminate with its energy. I am charmed by the changing shadows and gleaming beams amidst all the green. Does it all not bespeak the glory of the Lord?

I am thankful for the time I have been able to spend by the windows with coffee in hand and wonder in my heart.

2

For the G. K. Chesterton's "Father Brown."

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Aaron and I have been making our way through the BBC's "Father Brown" show as it is available now on Netflix. It is a simple, mostly feel-good production about an amateur sleuth, the humble and homely Catholic priest Father Brown (played by Mark Williams, aka Arthur Weasley).

With each case, Father Brown winds his way into the midst of the investigation. He stays a step ahead of the local detective and, therefore, often puts himself in harms way before a murderer's gun, etc. But this is Father Brown's motive all along. He believes in the inherent value of every human being, even those who lie, kill, cheat, and steal. 

I know it is "just a story," but I am inspired by Father Brown's dogged determination to show love to the loveless--how he invites even the most far gone to repentance, to turn around and walk with God. Instead of shaming perpetrators or, conversely, not holding them accountable, Father Brown simply and firmly asks the red-handed if they would like to make a confession. He does not judge them. He does not coddle them. He loves them. Father Brown makes room for the lost soul to be transformed and freed through the confession of sins. He believes in them and reminds them that though they have done wrong, they do not have to continue doing so. Father Brown helps perpetrators remember themselves as people again, and encourages them to face the consequences of their actions with integrity.

I want to be like that. I am inspired by Father Brown's faith in God's love for the least of these, even the one's who take advantage of others and do harm. The path of repentance--of turning from death to walk with Christ in newness of life--is open to every being. I want to remember that. 

3

For the joy of sweet tea on the run.

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I got this happy blue cup last summer on a "girls' day out" trip with two of my friends from Peacehaven Community Farm, which is a sweet memory to hold in my hands. 

I appreciate this little cup for its capacity to carry that memory and my lightly-sweetened iced tea wherever I go. No waste, no fuss--just a cup of simple pleasure.

4

For the bittersweet last day of class.

Maybe it is because one of my favorite professors is retiring this year or maybe it is because I am aware that I only have one more semester left at Wake Div, but, whatever the cause, I felt all the feels when the last day of class took place this week.

It was sad and awesome and beautiful and relief. I am reminded that endings are natural. They can be good, for they release new possibilities. I think it is still okay to be a little sad, though, as I witness the closing of really wonderful chapters. Makes me that much more excited to read on and find out what happens next.

5

For my husband's work in the kitchen.

Precision in the kitchen

Aaron blessed me so much this week by completely taking charge of the kitchen. I neither planned nor prepped a thing! His willingness to serve our family in this way helped me focus on finishing up my coursework for the semester (one paper and 2 exams to go!), but it also did something else: It gave me the opportunity to practice my trust in him. I relied on Aaron completely for food this week; every bite I devoured was product of his labor. It is a gift to be able to trust someone like that.

And, gracious, we ate GOOD this week!

Of course I have to say that this set up is unsustainable. It takes a team effort in the kitchen in order to do life well! But I am so very grateful for my husband's trustworthiness--and for his creative precision in the kitchen. 

That photo up there? That's how Aaron measures dough and stuff when he bakes. Precision indeed! ;)

6

For the sharing of liturgical ideas and spiritual practices. 

St. Mark's feast day was this week and I did not even realize it until scrolling through Instagram that night! Kendra Tierney of CatholicAllYear shared her family's lion-faced pizzas for St. Mark. Aren't they fantastic?

(The Lion is the symbol associated with Mark's gospel. Matthew is a Human, Luke an Ox, and John the Eagle. See more at Wikipedia!) 

It is a blessing to share and receive ideas for living into the reality of God's wild and wonderful Kingdom together--denominational lines crossed and all. Spiritual practices and liturgical rhythms are important to me because they help me pay attention to the presence of God. One would think I would not forget the Spirit's constant faithfulness and love, but, dadgumit, I do. I wind myself tight about this and that and then wonder why I do not feel God's presence, when She is there the whole time on the other side of my preoccupations.

God is always here. God's loving Spirit is closer, even, than the air I breathe. My job is to attune to Her presence--for therein is life and love abundant and free. 

Liturgical traditions--from Praying the Hours to baking lion-head pizzas in honor of Jesus' disciple--help me practice living into the really Real, otherwise known as the Kingdom of God. The practices help me 'believe in mystery.'

I am thankful for Kendra's ideas, and also for Rachel Held Evan's post this week about a new book of spiritual practices for families by Traci Smith. 

7

That I get to see my grandma next week--can I get an amen?

Miracle of miracles, one of my professors cancelled a final exam! Which is awesome on its own, but REALLY because it means I get to go see my family next week instead of studying for a test for two days.

I have not been able to see my grandma since Christmas Eve, so the prospect of this trip feels like an Easter miracle. ;)

Thanks be to God!


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.

HOW TO:

  1. Write a listicle about your seven gratitudes each week.
  2. Publish your piece with a link back to my blogpost on Friday mornings.
  3. And then link up with the form at the bottom of the page.

Be sure to visit with the other bloggers in the party--THEY ARE TOO WONDERFUL TO MISS!


I invite you to share a gratitude of your own--please feel welcome!

Thanks for being here, beloveds.

L