I have been reading a book called "One Thousand Gifts". The author tells of her journey to seek "to LIVE FULLY right where you are". Or in other words, "Do we find joy in the midst of deadlines, debt, drama, and daily duties?" Are we awake to God's every day blessings? How can a stay-at-home-mom, find joy in the every day things of cooking, cleaning, laundry, homework, arguments, and struggles? While the author doesn't share my same faith and beliefs- as she reads the scriptures, she discovers that the center of the gospel is, in her words, the "eucharisteo". (the eucharist- the holy communion- the sacrament- the thanksgiving.) For those of us that celebrate the sacrament on a weekly basis, we have that reminder always before us. Her next step is to realize that to have the "eucharisteo" we need to be giving thanks in ALL things. Even in the very "difficult to understand" things of life. Like the death of her younger sister, the death of two nephews, and the unfairness of the world. She discovers that we need to see everything in life as a gift from God and then give our thanks, thus resulting in joy. We need to not want "to change the story" because we don't know what a "different ending" might hold. There is a reason why we are not writing the story and God is. He knows how it all works out, where it all leads, and what it all means. The way she learns to always give thanks- is to "name" (or write down) "one thousand gifts" she has been given.
My Dad passed away last Sunday and while we can't change the story or change the ending- we can count the gifts. We can count the gifts given by him and the gifts given by God. We can cling to the thought that Dad is in the hands of a perfect and loving judge- Jesus Christ. On Friday, we will be in Dad's favorite places- a church that he helped build and Reuben's ranch. Our daughters gift to him will be to sing one of his favorite songs. (An Alan Jackson version is at the bottom of this post)
My assignment for Friday is to sit still and cry. I am very good at that and I have been practicing all week.
We will be counting the gifts.