For Original Blessing, Halloween Hospitality, & the Wild - Seven Gratitudes, vol. 44

#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 original blessing, for little Watson’s dedication.

Watson's-Dedication

My nephew was brought before his faith community this week. My brother and sister-in-law held him before the people and promised to raise him in full view of God’s love and promise.

It was a gift to experience the outpouring of love from my brother’s community. It was a gift to witness my brother and sister-in-law express their faith and hope in such a public way—such vulnerability, such courage!—in the name of Christ and for the love of their son.

It was also a gift to hold my nephew for the very first time.

Watson-and-Aunt-Leanna

When my brother placed his son in my arms, Watson looked at me, into me.

I saw the whole world in his eyes.

Blessing.

2

For Angel’s Halloween table.

Angel's-Halloween

My dear friend Angel kicked off Hallowtide with such a delightful expression of hospitality this week! She had my roommate Holly and me over after our evening class—which, Halloween miracle!, let out early—for sweet potato and black bean tacos and a spooky chocolate cake.

Angel's-Cake

We marveled over the good food, listened to undergrads hooting outside, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves around the table before piling up to watch Ghostbusters. The new one, of course.

(WHICH IS MY FAVORITE, FYI. #holtzmann4eva)

Ghostbusters

Now. Y’all know I am all about scruffy hospitality. The kind of gathering that takes place right in the midst of the everyday, right by the piled up mail and last night’s dishes.

But. BUT, there is something so very special about that tablecloth laid out. Those themed napkins. That fun menu-planning.

Friends

Angel gave us something beautiful Tuesday night straight from her Halloween-loving heart. In her preparation and excitement she welcomed us to her table, but she also welcomed us to herself in a new way. As she laid that table, she laid down her guard—in sharing her joy, Angel shared herself, inviting us to know her more deeply than before.

Scruffy hospitality is awesome because it declares friendship and community more valuable than putting on airs. Hosts get to practice vulnerability and openness instead of putting on a show.

Angel’s table taught me that sometimes laying the table does the same thing.

Sometimes the extra oomph of a dinner party is the tender joy and humble willingness to be seen and known.

3

For the wild.

wild

We had an unexpected death in our Wake Div community this week. All Saint’s day was especially heavy for us all.

mariposa

I was thankful for how the wild came and found me as I waited for my bus after our memorial service. First the wondrous greens of the moss, then the flashing yellow of the butterfly, then the rushing depths of the breath in my lungs.

We are not alone in this world, beloveds. In our mourning and in our joy creation holds us, even as God holds the world.

held

I am thankful for that moment of being held in the wild.

4

For miscommunication, for making up, that I can trust my husband with my truth, pain, and experience.

Thankful that partnership endures in trouble. Even the pettiest of troubles, which can be the most trying. That the grace of marriage continues to shape and refine our hearts toward deeper trust, deeper understanding.

Grateful to again learn a lesson of love.

It never ends, hallelujah.

5

That we sometimes get to hear the prayers of our people.

I heard a multitude of prayers this week. Is that not amazing, that we sometimes get to pray together and hear the very soul of another?

At church, around the table, over the phone, in a letter—

There is something truly mystical about this Body of believers, this communion in which we dwell.

6

For the call of the saints, for their example, for the chance to think critically with their witness, for the peek at what’s possible in the Kingdom of God.

Who are some of your role models in the faith?

7

For a little woodland visitor.

deer

Yesterday evening I heard a rustling just outside my window, and, behold, I had the most beautiful little guest wanting to say hello.

His mom was just a stone’s throw down in the ravine watching every move he made. She had her eyes on me, too.

We all just looked at each other for a bit and then they went away.