#SevenGratitudes, as it continues into its second year, 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…
For my Dallas-dwelling, dog-loving Good Samaritan.
Last Friday afternoon our Barkley-boy went missing. I had let him out into our fenced backyard to play for a while in the sunshine. Just under an hour went by before I went to let him back into the house…and he was. not. there.
Heart in my throat and absolute shock in my brain, I started calling for him, looking for him, and checking all of his favorite spots. No Barkley, but I did find a side-gate standing wide open. A gate I did not even know we had. The church yardmen had accidently left it open that morning.
In panic and despair I darted down the street—in loungewear and socked-feet!—calling for my buddy. I texted the neighbors I knew. One neighbor I did not know came out of his house willing to help.
And then the phone rang, an unknown number, which I answered promptly not with “Hello” but “Is this about my dog? Are you calling about my dog?”
“Yes, ma’am—I have a Good Samaritan on the line who has found your dog!”
Barkley has an identification chip, thanks to the Humane Society. Our Good Samaritan found Barks in the shopping center across one of the busiest streets in Dallas (makes me queasy just thinking about it). The man had stopped at the pet store there to buy treats for his own dogs when he saw Barkley weaving around cars with his nose toward Boston Market. He quickly made friends with Barks, had his chip read at the vet nearby, and ended up on the phone with me minutes later.
Dave was his name.
Dave said he would drive Barkley right over to my house, so I quickly got dressed (somehow still missing my shoes!) while a neighbor kept vigil in the yard.
When Dave’s truck came to a stop Barkley bounded happily back to me, looking like he had just had the most amazing adventure ever. Our Good Samaritan gave Barkley a treat, told me I had a very special dog, and said he could tell Barkley was very well loved.
I hugged the man, took Barkley inside, and did not stop vibrating with gratitude, fear, and relief for hours.
Thankful for the utter kindness of that man Dave. Y’all, he did not have to do one bit of what he did. He could have just turned his head and crossed to the other side.
But something invited him to go out of his way for our beloved critter.
Humbled by this stranger’s acquaintance with Love.
For my new pocketbook.
For Christmas my mother gave me a new pocketbook. It made me uncomfortable at first, what with its newness and all. I get attached and settled with things like pocketbooks. I had been carrying my burgundy purse for going on eight years or so. Grandma and I found it at a thrift store in her hometown on a day date back when I was in college. The bag—and the memories it held—went with me to and through many a place, space, and season.
It had a good run, and it was also starting to come apart.
Thankful for my mom’s intuition about gifts, her clever style choice, and that she tried to not be offended when I did not at first jump for joy.
(LOVING it now!)
Thankful for my new pocketbook, a symbol and gift for the new journey ahead.
That clean water comes out of my faucet.
I am thinking of many the woman who spent the bulk of her life sourcing and carrying the stuff I take for granted every day.
I am sensing an invitation to intentionally appreciate the utter wonder of tap water—that one of life’s essentials is so readily available to me.
I am challenged to remember those who do not have access to such grace.
It seems to me that ingratitude is linked with injustice. If I am not mindful of the grace that sustains me, I am, then, less likely to mind that others are not sustained and go without.
Noticing life-giving means noticing life-taking, too.
God, grant that I may see—
Give me courage to not turn away.
For one day of simple and steady productivity.
Monday was one of those good days where you hardly sit down, where projects flow naturally from one into the other. My mind did not get tired, neither did my body. I washed clothes, prepped a week’s worth of meals, made veggie broth with scraps, and organized the house all the while thinking and singing and processing—
It was a day that I needed.
For being put on the spot, that my church will not let me hide.
Wednesday I went to my church’s mid-week luncheon for the first time. We eat, pray, and explore a scripture text together around tables. Pastor George led the discussion this week. His first order of business, however, was a question to me: “So, Leanna, what is the one thing you are just burning to tell us from seminary?” I sidestepped, asking how much time he had for the answer, but then ended up on my feet introducing my ecological vocation to the room, a loving bunch of the body of believers to which I belong.
I feel that belonging even more now, after being put on the spot. You call on those you love and believe in. My church won’t let me hide or shirk my gifts or my calling.
So, happy to be here, to be welcomed, and to be made one of the family.
For holiday lights.
We did not get a Christmas tree this year because by the time I got home and settled all the trees at our neighborhood stands (we visited two) were dry, dead, and $100+.
So Aaron and I strung lights, made do, and were pleasantly surprised. They will probably stay up a bit longer, just because.
Thankful for holiday lights, for little heralds of holy days at home.
For the newness ahead.
I finally feel that I am coming out of the fog of transition and into clearing of whatever is coming next. I am excited and thankful, filled with hope, because God is here in all of her wild and wondrous creativity.
Here’s to the Spirit’s leading, folks—glad to be in this journey with you!
What sparks gratitude in you?
I invite you to share in the thanksgiving today with me below in the comments or with someone in your own community. Let gratitude grow and it will help bring us together.