For honest professors, Life Around the Table, and Practical Magic - Seven Gratitudes, vol. 37

#SevenGratitudes is a weekly gratitude practice for the enlivening of my soul, a deepening engagement with the world, and simple encouragement for anyone who stops by.

Thanks for being here.


This week I am grateful…

1

For my new laundry rack, that it fits and works well in my little sun room.

Y’all know we purchased an umbrella clothesline posthaste when we moved to Texas. Well, after a few weeks of hanging laundry with the birds and the breeze and my Barkley-boy, I had to ship myself off to Winston-Salem for school, sans clothesline.

Which I really did not consider would be a thing.

Why should a clothesline, of all things at present, be a thing? Furthermore, why would I miss the time and energy it takes to hang clothes on a line when an electric dryer is directly available?

I did two loads of laundry in my first weeks back here in NC. Both times I felt…icky? Stumped? Stuck? Answer: All of the above.

The dryer felt loud, obnoxious, and unnecessary. It felt like a huge amount of energy for the simple task of getting my clothes dry. Recent experience has taught me they THEY DO THAT ON THEIR OWN. Rather quickly, too.

Of course I am not in a position where I am responsible for washing cloth diapers for a young one or my entire household’s week of clothes in this apartment. I think those would be reasonable uses for a dryer in an apartment.

As for my needs, though, I remembered a drying rack I had in college, and, thusly, moseyed myself over to Amazon for a price check.

Two days later:

laundry-rack

Full disclosure, it took a good 24-hours for every stitch to dry thoroughly, but dry thoroughly they did. For free—without cost to my wallet or the (more) precious resources of the ecological community.

laundry-drying

I am thankful that I have clothes enough that I am able to spare 24 hours for laundry to dry. I am grateful for space enough to co-dwell with my drying rack here in the little sun room. I am thankful for Love made possible.

2

That I get to witness concrete changes in my friends’ lives out of Love for the whole world.

I promise I have not been a creeper, but I HAVE witnessed some beautiful subtle shifts in the lives of my friends here recently.

People choosing reusable over disposable, damning “inconvenience” as a reason for screwing the planet and the poor. Loved ones concerned about where their food comes from—and making sure not a bite of it goes to waste. Others making schedules for taking off our community compost.

It is a joy and an honor to learn alongside these folks as we “submit ourselves one unto the other.”

Thank y’all. Thanks.

3

For honest professors, for the bravery it takes to have “no sacred cows” in the pursuit of truth.

“This is not a safe place,” my professor said, “…and there are no sacred cows. You may speak your mind respectfully, no matter if we disagree. We are pursuing truth and it takes all of us to get there.”

I praise You, God, for the presence of such humility and grace in my teachers and fellow citizens! May they be blessed for their faithfulness and decision to count the cost—of reputation, of transformation, of being wrong, even—for the sake of the world and all its members, for the ones You so dearly love.

4

For Practical Magic.

practical-magic

Saturday night my roomies and I decided to gather in for a movie night. Meagan suggested “Practical Magic,” which only she had seen among us and a long time ago at that.

practical-magic-braid-1.jpg

Well. I loved it. Put Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman in anything and I will probably love it. But this movie hit all the notes for me this past weekend—nostalgia, eco-feminism, whimsy, humor, love, braids.

Most interestingly it hit on a topic one of my colleagues is exploring for her final project here at WakeDiv—how women of power, integrity, and non-conformity are called witches throughout time. They are therefore ostracized from their communities—until their unique gifts are needed, that is.

I dig this movie and I am thankful for the experience of it with my roomies and friends.

Also, I couldn’t help by braid my hair the next day as a symbolic “I’m with them,” with the “be-witched” women, the misunderstood and othered women who paved a way for me to be the liberated woman I am today.

5

For Philippians 2 and the anti-violent Reality of the Form of God.

“Jesus, who being in the very form of God, did not see equality with God something to be exploited—that is, “raped and robbed”—from God or His fellow humans…”

I am thankful that in Jesus we see that God’s form is NOT like the Donald Trumps or Caesars in this world; God does not rape and rob Her way to power.

Jesus’ life invites us to the Way of Love, to give ourselves in Love and restrain ourselves from "raping and robbing" our livings from others.

Please read this incredible article by my New Testament professor, Dr. Katherine A. Shaner on "Seeing Rape and Robbery: [harpagmos] and the Philippians Christ Hymn (Phil. 2:5-11)."

6

For Community Worship.

WakeDiv-Community-Worship

The WakeDiv community worships and eats together twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Students and professors collaborate on the shape and form of worship and our proclaimers come from all corners.

gathering-for-worship

This week I am especially thankful for this worshipping community. Tuesday I witnessed the preaching of colleague James, a local African American pastor. The power and honest vulnerability—two things surprisingly not estranged—he exhibited summoned me to the intersection of our differing cultures and shared spirituality, the brink of dying to ego and living to Love. He pointed me to Jesus.

Thursday the pilgrims who sojourned Iona, Scotland this past summer for a time of intentional Celtic spirituality and community planned and led worship. It was simple and open.

The affirmation of faith we voiced together I will leave right here.:

affirmation-of-faith

Thanks be to God.

7

For Life Around the Table.

life around the table

In just a few hours I will myself make a little pilgrimage to Life Around the Table’s EATING TOGETHER retreat in Efland, NC. This is my second time attending (images are from last year) and, oh, how I look forward to hearing kindred hearts and wondering questions about communion and justice and love through food and table.

I am thankful for gatherings set out for the purpose of personal transformation, ecological consciousness, and justice for people in poverty. I am thankful that these “mysteries and miracles happen when we gather around the table.” 

Amen.