And I wonder if I'll ever be able to take it all in, live it all out.
Six weeks of reading, pouring over, writing down, thinking through. And in the end I know I've only just begun. The miracle of eucharisteo, a life of thanksgiving, is too deep, too multifaceted, too all-encompassing to be learned in a few short weeks.
I know I could walk away right now and still be a different person than I was before this book. But I don't want to walk away yet.
Instead, I go back to the beginning and start again. Slower this time, one piece of truth at a time. Letting the living catch up to the learning. Finding a rhythm between the heart and the head, the knowing and the being.
And this is where I settle first:
Living with losses, I may choose to still say yes. Choose to say yes to what He freely gives.... When we find ourselves groping along, famished for more, we can choose. When we are despairing, we can choose to live as Israelites gathering manna. For forty long years, God's people daily eat manna--a substance whose name literally means "What is it?" Hungry, they choose to gather up that which is baffling. They fill on that which has no meaning. More than 14,600 days they take their daily nourishment from that which they don't comprehend. They find soul-filling in the explicable. They eat the mystery. (Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts)
They eat the mystery.
I wrote this in my journal the day I first read those words: The word mystery has been surfacing for me often these past few years. This "eating of the mystery" is what I am desperately longing to learn. To not be paralyzed or disheartened by the mystery of God and His workings and all this brokenness in a life, but rather to be filled by it, willing to take it in and be sustained by it. As I am writing this, I keep thinking about that phrase from the 'Growing Is Beautiful' Collage: "Save space for mystery."
I looked up from my journal that day and gazed at the collage hanging just a few feet away. And I shook my head in wonder at the way so many of the phrases, written nearly two years before, are representative of what this Gift Chronicling is doing in me.
|Save Space for Mystery|
|Praise Even When the Sky Falls|
|Find Adventure in the Everyday|
|Choose Extraordinary Life|
And maybe best and most of all:
|Growing is Beautiful|
Yes, growing is hard, messy, and full of mystery. But it is also beautiful and full of grace, full of glory, full of God.
So today I am giving thanks for the mystery. The mystery of God. The mystery of life. The mystery of all the hurts and the losses and the things I don't understand. Because giving thanks is the only way to see God in all the moments of a life.
And I want to see God more than I want to know all the answers.
302. Sentimental necklace found before I knew it was lost
303. Neighbor's lilac budding out beside the driveway
304. Tiny white-haired woman crossing the street in warm-up pants
305. Compliments from strangers on the blanket that is so very me
306. Two cats staring me down, trying to convince me of their need for an early lunch
307. The March Lion roaring loud on a Wednesday morning
308. Rain river flowing down the back alley
309. Finding lost credit cards before I canceled them
310. Afternoon of yarn shopping
311. Falling asleep to the sound of rain
312. Perfectly baked quiche coming out of the oven
313. Enjoying tea-party leftovers all week long
314. Yarn called "Ginseng" sitting on my desk and inspiring me while I work
315. Sun breaking free from morning clouds
316. Airplane glimpsed as it disappears into a cloud
317. Lone seagull in flight
318. Cats who follow a hobbit's meal plan--breakfast, second breakfast, elevensies....
319. Flowering plum tress blooming out, assuring of spring's coming arrival
320. Pear trees budded alongside the roadway
321. Last spot in a very small parking lot
322. Men who stand stoically in the rain, waiting for the light to change
323. Driving past places I used to call home, remembering pieces of lives I once lived
324. Wind so strong I can't walk a straight line
325. Bag full of color, blanket waiting to be born
326. Skeins of yarn piled on the desk, awakening the wonder of possibilities
327. Cat nose snuggled under paw
328. Sun glinting off rain-soaked blossoms
329. Afternoon to myself
330. Long to-do list checked off
331. Sunset beneath rain clouds
332. Marveling at the setting sun while standing on a street corner in the rain
333. Homemade gingerbread, hot out of the oven
334. Whipped cream melting atop the slice of gingerbread
335. Waiting for the final amaryllis bloom to open wide
336. Turning clocks ahead, jumping an hour closer to Spring
337. Writing letters to a girl I call "sister," a girl I've never met
338. Scarf collection growing too large for the basket
339. Funny sayings on packets of hot sauce
340. Driving to church in the pouring rain
341. Little girl tramping through the rain in a pink coat and rubber boots
342. Ending the day with a mug of tea and a slice of gingerbread
343. Listening to the rain fall hard while the cat sleeps sound and I type words
344. Standing at the window late at night, watching God shake the trees and pour down rain
345. Full night of sleep
346. Beginning the day with cat and cookbook on lap
347. Reading the last page of a book
348. Being changed by the reading of that book
349. Collage, long months in the making, that still speaks into my journey here, in this moment
350. The mystery of a big God
351. The mystery of loss and hurt and a broken-hearted world
352. The mystery of now
353. Seeing God in all the mystery
354. Wanting to see God more than wanting the answers