Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A space for gratitude

November is here, and giving thanks is all the rage.

But how do we fit it in? Shall we keep a list next to the bed and add five obligatory things before we earn our sleep? Shall we pause each day with kids around ankles and throw a grateful thought or two up on facebook? Shall we make a big project of it, and involve the kids, and decorate the walls of our home with leaves and words and sticky masking tape and let it all hang there until we can't take it anymore?

I don't think it matters, really.

How, when, who knows about it- none of this matters, really. What matters is that we open our eyes, and our hearts, and that we take time to notice the gifts God gives us right here, today.

Slow down, and notice.

The person who types these words is much more prone to barrel through, get 'er done, and trample.  I need reminders, and my own children should be enough, what with their constant "Mommy look at this picture" and "Mom, watch this!" and "look through my folder with me!" and "can you listen to one of my songs?" and "I just made a smiley face for you," on the mirror, in toothpaste.

Accept my grateful praise, son. Or not.

Truth be told, I resent those interruptions sometimes. I want to notice, but I don't always want to be TOLD what to notice by little people, especially when I'm trying to get the homework done and dinner on the table.

It's over stimulation season, and the sheer amount of talking and movement of the children can make me want to run and hide. "WHY are you climbing on the counter and turning on the water right now?" Can't they see I'm trying to serve dinner?

I don't know whether they see, but that particular time, that particular annoying moment with the child in my way in the water on the counter, it was something I should have noticed.

He was doing this:


It's hard to see there with the clutter. 
The beauty. 


My kindergartner put it there... for me.

I have seen horrible things growing in sippy cups in my days, but this time, beauty, put there by a child who not so long ago drank out of the cup, and clung to my hip, and took everything all the time. That child is learning how to give, how to notice, how to help others notice.

Noticing,
in the middle of the clutter. This is my challenge.
This is the fight.

The dining room table seems to have a magnet that attracts papers, mail, clutter. Sometimes  we have to shove it all to the middle just to eat dinner.

Yesterday, I cleared it off.
Our family gratitude notebook will remain right there, all month long. Surely it will get buried more than once, but I think there, in the center of activity, it might get opened, too.






“Our capacity for gratitude is not connected with an abundance of resources but rather with a capacity to notice what it is that we do have.  This is expressed powerfully in the traditional African-American prayer of gratitude that the Lord “woke me up this morning clothed in my right mind. He didn’t have to do it, but he did.” 

(Christine D. Pohl, Living into Community)



Father,
Open our eyes to see, and our lips to declare your praise.
Amen

1 comment:

  1. I love the flowers by the sink! How sweet - your child probably saw you at the sink all the time, and thought you would see them there. :-) You are right, how easily we miss the simple things of beauty.

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