On going home, good theater, & Michaelmas! - Seven Gratitudes, vol. 29

#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 time at home; for no time wasted.

Leanna-and-Aaron

After four weeks apart, Aaron and I had a beautiful weekend together in Dallas.

It was glorious and real, folks. <3

We had Sabbath supper with friends, ate at a 25-years-running urban garden café, saw an incredible musical, worshipped with our community, and loved, loved, loved one another.

It was wonderful.

And now I am going to zoom into one part that was not as gleaming, but added to the depth of the experience.

I noticed that it was surprisingly difficult to “arrive” when Aaron drove me home from the airport Thursday night; reentry was rough. When I hopped into the car after a whole day’s travel, in one gust came emotions of relief, gratitude, excitement, hallelujahs—and also pain, of all things. Heart-wrenching, confusing pain.

It was bizarre, but it was real.

In that 40-minute car ride home I felt the strong dissonance of this particular situation we are in; I felt the joy of reunion and the full outrage of our separation.

It was not until we were together again, his hand in mine, that I dared realize the gravity of my discomfort.

However. However. At some point over the weekend we both expressed strange joy in the midst of this. Being separated SUCKS. It hurts. It feels stupid and wrong. But somehow it is not in vain. It does not feel worthless anymore. Of course there are the obvious outcomes that we are excited about; my degree, his work, etc. But there is something more at work in this envelope of time.

The grace of God’s presence with us in the midst of this…well, I am starting to open to how God is creatively and wondrously redeeming the hard stuff, deeply witnessing and yet somehow transforming our pain.

To be clear, God did not plan this odd happenstance, this weird timing of responsibility that puts Aaron and me 1,100 miles apart. God did not intend for this to happen.

But God is with us.

And God will NOT let this time go to waste.

I pray continual welcome for God’s possibilities.

And I praise You, Jesus!

2

For good theater.

Image from funhomebroadway.com.

Image from funhomebroadway.com.

We got to see “Fun Home” Saturday, a tragicomic musical about authenticity, family honesty, and breaking cycles of violence and oppression.

The winner of five 2015 Tony Awards® including Best Musical, FUN HOME is based on Alison Bechdel’s best-selling graphic memoir. This groundbreaking production introduces us to Alison at three different ages, revealing memories of her uniquely dysfunctional family that connect with her in surprising new ways. “Heart-gripping and cathartic, FUN HOME occupies the place where we all grew up.”
— The New York Times

A MUST SEE, folks.

Check out this NPR interview with Alison Bechdel, the woman whose real life is behind the story.

Also...

This weekend I get to see “She Kills Monsters” here on WakeDiv's campus.

I am grateful for the experience of vulnerability required to enter the story-world of the theater. I often find that I have no idea what I am getting myself into. There is a choice to be made, then, whether to submit myself to the unfolding narrative—to whatever it may stir up, challenge, or inspire within me—or dis/miss the whole thing. It is usually worth the risk.

I am thankful for the social-personal illumination that happens in good art. For how it widens and exposes the spectrum of human experience.

What a wonder.

3

For Christians who care about the climate crisis.

4

For simple meals.

Can we just take a second and celebrate leftovers? How I can count on that homemade veggie curry in the fridge for lunch? Or that pot of perfect steel cut oats I made for breakfasts this week?

I am so thankful for the ability to have “fast food” that nourishes me and contributes to the well-being of our ecological community (humans and animals ALL included).

Woot!

5

For proclamation.

I got to proclaim with Woman Wisdom this week in chapel alongside a team of dancing colleagues. Proclamation is a powerful moment where sometimes and often Jesus walks straight into the heart of things.

This week, as I read excerpts from Wisdom’s story—Her voice and point of view rolling like waves within me—I experienced the Presence of God in Her story and my school community in a new and radical way.

I am thankful for the miracles of revelation and hope that happen in the midst of the gathered worshipping community.

I am thankful for those moments when Hokmah is revealed in the midst of us all.

6

For interesting research.

St-Brigid

My early Christianity history paper this semester is focused on none other than Saint Brigid of Kildare! I am thrilled with the research I have found so far. I am also thrilled to have the chance to piece together and wrestle with the way Brigid’s story came to be, came to be told, and came to be shushed a bit too.

There is liberation to be found in the ancient stories—if we listen closely for the whispering Word.

7

For Michaelmas!

Happy feast of St. Michael and All Angels!

Today’s a day especially set aside to remember how messengers of God come into our midst—slaying the monsters of our nightmares and the dragons of doom upon the earth.

It is a great day to recall Gabriel’s visit to Mary, the mysterious Three’s visit to Abraham and Sarah, or even the heavenly showdown between the Woman Clothed with the Sun and St. Michael against the Seven-Headed Dragon of Revelation 12 (you have GOT to read that tale if you’ve never)!

It is a wild holy day, y’all, and it is the first major liturgical holiday Aaron and I celebrated outside Christmas and Easter (here's a fun intro to the day).

The first year we had paper crowns, fiery chili, and a fierce dragon piñata.

Last year we added homemade blackberry pies!

And tonight my dear friends are planning to welcome a small host for brats, pumpkin beer, and, I am sure, a bit of storytelling—Michaelmas is good for that.

I am thankful for this weird holiday and the way it stirs me toward mystery. I find myself remembering and recognizing the angelic messengers in my life, those people that bear good news at just the right moment.

I hope you have yourself some fun today, slaying dragons, telling stories, and looking for ways to move on mission with God’s message of peace and good will to all—


Thanks for sharing this moment with me, beloveds. Feel welcome to share a thanksgiving of your own below in the comments or over on Facebook.

Let gratitude grow!

L