For the first time all year I am a day late with my #SevenGratitudes. Grad school's made a tall order this semester, seeing as it is my very last one. Plus, I am living 1,100 miles away from my husband. There may be other weeks when my gratitude practice will have to be flexible.
However, the important part is that there is still time. There is still time to gather and examine the loose ends of my lived experience of Reality this week. There is still time, though not within the usual 24-hours of Friday, to see how those loose ends weave together into a picture of God’s freely-given presence and love.
Which, utterly and completely, is what practicing gratitude reveals to me, beloveds. It shows me, every week, whether I want it to or not, just how much and abundant and lavish is God’s love. It is almost too much to bear sometimes.
But it ain’t gonna fail us. It ain’t gonna quit. God will love us through, hallelujah.
Thanks for being here, a day late, but not a thanksgiving short.
This week I am grateful…
For this book. For anything by Sallie McFague.
One of my favorite professors gave this to me off her shelf the first week of class, which was timely as it has invited me to remember and discover anew why I am doing what I am doing.
I can’t even talk about it right now, folks, except to say it is Good. Beguilingly and challengingly Good. It is so good that I am reading it in even though it is in no way required of me. #realtalk
I invite you to pick up a copy so we can talk about it and be transformed together.
Here’s the official description from Fortress Press:
“In this timely book, Sallie McFague recalls her readers to the practices of restraint. In a world bent on consumption it is imperative that people of religious faith realize the significant role they play in advocating for the earth, and a more humane life for all.
The root of restraint, she argues, rests in the ancient Christian notion of Kenosis, or self-emptying.
By introducing Kenosis through the life stories of [saints] John Woolman, Simone Weil, and Dorothy Day, McFague brings a powerful theological concept to bear in a winsome and readable way.
For decades, Sallie McFague has lent her voice and her theological imagination to addressing and advocating for the most important issues of our time. In doing so, she has influenced an entire generation, and empowered countless people in their efforts to put religion in the service of meeting human needs in difficult times.”
For Commonplace, a gathering of ecologically conscious colleagues who want to love the world. For the promise of conversation and support among my peers.
The group gathered in one of our homes this past Thursday over glasses of wine and LaCroix. Pets were welcome, of course, as were opinions and passions from all corners of creation. We had a reading of Old Turtle that made us tear up. We went around the room hearing each heart, outrage and hope in each beat. It was a gift.
I am thankful to not be in this work alone. Never alone.
For a happy mess of wild flowers just outside my window.
They are perfect. Wild, messy, unexpected, and exactly what they were invited to be. What joy.
For wholesale, and the funds to plan ahead.
With my anxiously-awaited stipend in my bank account, I headed to Costco (under a membership I share with a friend) to stock my pantry for the semester. It is an amazing feeling to know that at any given moment over the next few months all it will take to nourish myself and even some in my community is a smidgen of thought and an hour or so in the kitchen.
I am thankful for the ability to plan ahead and prepare for the months to come.
For itchy fingers and a voice bent on humming. That creativity doesn’t stop.
“Itchy fingers” sounds uncomfortable (ha!), but they DO itch to play and glide about a melody. Even though I am not able to devote too much time to music or other tactile pursuits (I am limited to cooking and writing presently!), I am thankful for the urge to create and express.
I am surprised and deeply encouraged by the fact that creativity does not go away.
That being apart from my spouse is annoying and loathsome.
Can I get an amen? Being apart absolutely SUCKS.
I am struck, though, by the fact that it could be worse. It could be that we don’t mind being separated. It could be that we could take or leave each other.
But, lawdy, that ain’t the case.
I miss my husband. I ache for him, to do life alongside him, to delight in him and our journey together.
And that is grace. Imma remember that on this trudge toward December. Even the missing is a sign and symbol of Love shared and freely given.
My best friend, for her birth and the 28 years since.
Happiest of birthday weekends to my best friend Kelli. That’s short for kenotic, enlivening, Love-bearing, laughter-sparking, and incredibly authentic. If you don’t know her, you should. Her presence means even the smallest and unheard are seen, cared for, and fostered to Life.
Happy birthday, my friend. Thankful for you.