For Thrift Stores and Everything - Seven Gratitudes, vol. 43

After a wonderful long weekend at home with my husband in Dallas, TX, I return to the rhythmic trudge toward completing my work at Wake Forest School of Divinity. This is the beginning of the final push, I think, which makes me feel nervous and excited all at once. There is much to do. Much to do. And yet, herein seeps quiet moments for gratitude, for reflection, for mourning a season’s near close, and for celebrating new hopes for what comes after.

Thank you for being with me in this particular space and for entwining your journey with mine.


This week I am grateful…

1

For Casa View Thrift.

new-clothes

Aaron and I spent Thursday evening and Friday last week tucked away in our home, focused on one another. Saturday we ventured out into grand world—and found THE BEST thrift store!

Casa View Thrift hooked me up.

The experience roused all kinds of things in me. It was fun to walk the aisles and scan through all of the clothes. This store categorizes their clothing by gender, article, and color, so I had a moment when I had to get honest with myself: What colors do I actually like? Which types of clothing—pants or skirts? Buttons or pullovers?—do I enjoy most? It was a beautiful moment to have the chance to check in with myself, to follow the desires and delights of my own heart.

That moment required the realization that I can enjoy the clothes I wear on my body. It required I believe and accept that it is okay to dress as myself, that I don’t have to wear things that don’t represent who I am, and that this type of mindful cladding is worth a moderate investment of time and resource.

Thus, this process of dressing myself and discerning my style became a spiritual exercise, a process of expressing my identity as a creature of God’s own.

It was a blessing to remember who I am and what I actually like. I am thankful for the chance to hear myself and to trust (celebrate, even) my instincts, rather than simply bowing to what I perceive other people would want or expect me to wear.

I am also incredibly thankful for my wonderful husband who assisted me in this pursuit, who did not denigrate my process, but recognized the essential nature of what I was doing. He held that space for me, traded clothes under the dressing room door for me, and he winked at me.

Thankful for the difference flannel and long-sleeves make in the wind. I am thankful for the chance to dress for the weather, the curves and contours of my frame, and the comfortable acquiescence of my personal style.

And for my partner who is with me and for me, even when we shop through lunch.

2

That everything is everything.

Tuesday one of my colleagues, Demi, preached a sermon on circles, Everything is Everything, from the first chapter of Ecclesiastes. Last term I spent a good amount of time with ol’ Qohelet, so the sermon felt warm from the start.

I cannot even begin to paint the scope of Demi’s preaching for you here. Only, I must mention that I am thankful for her message and the One who so willingly spoke through her. I am thankful for the deep-calls-to-deep reminder that in the face of systemic injustice and despair, we can hope in the never-ending cycle and spiral-forward of Christ, that after death there comes new life—that after winter, there must come spring.

As a wombed person, I feel this rhythm and pull in the hull of my hips, the space between my bones, in the pulse of my blood. I am learning to move more and more lovingly, more presently, more openly and wonderingly into and with the pull of these cycles, circles, spirals forward in life—that I may be open to everything. And be.

3

For Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day.

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is the “home page” on my web browser (gosh, I don't think I've used those phrases since 1997—ha!). I look to it as some might peek their horoscope. It is so fun to try the different words that pop up there every day, whether they mean anything to me or not, whether I have heard them before or not.

Language creates worlds. The Word of the Day, then, feels like a little window into another realm, an invitation to see.

4

For time with my advising professor.

Everyone struggles with whether or not they have any right to do the work they are called to do. Right. Everyone.

And everyone should have a mentor in their lives to set them straight.

“You are a child of God,” she said, “A beloved of God empowered by God to speak life into this every-becoming world."

Amen and amen.

5

For reminders of where I have been and where God has wooed me.

necklace

I brought a necklace back with me from Dallas that lets me hold truth in my hands. I also, in this liminal moment after the rush of midterm and the crashing tumble toward the end, have looked back through my essays, photos, and journals from the past few years, letting their lessons rise in me again.

God’s faithfulness, Her never-failing presence through thick and thin, is amazing to behold.

And this is just the beginning.

Thankful for these things that re-member me in the arms of God.

6

For our “erotic ecology”—that the world moves in Love.

Erotic-Ecology

Wednesday night I got to hear a lecture I have been anticipating all semester--Matter and Desire: An Erotic Ecology with Andreas Weber, a German biologist and eco-philosopher.

"Weber asks a radical and challenging question: Could it be that our planet is not suffering primarily from a financial crisis, or even an ecological one, but from a critical lack of love? In speaking of love and of eroticism, Weber is not referring to sentimental feelings, but...delves deep into the continuity and connections between our bodies and those of all living beings." -- WakeDiv

The good news is that you can hear it, too! See the Facebook Live video here.

7

For Glory Happening.

My friend Kaitlin has a book coming out next month, which is a beautiful, beautiful thing. Her stories have been reviewed by Richard Rohr, Rachel Held Evans, Brian McLaren, and many others you many know. Her stories have also stirred my heart and encouraged me over the many coffee dates and lunchtimes Kaitlin and I shared when I lived in Atlanta.

Please do yourself a favor and see yourself a copy, asap.

I am so grateful to celebrate this moment in my friend’s life, for the good that will be sown through her words into this wide world. I praise God for the glory that is indeed happening.