Someone asked the other day why I have not been writing. There have been many mornings when I wanted to write over the last several months, yet the words simply didn’t flow.
Sometimes words just dry up.
Sometimes life is mundane and busy and distracted and I find it difficult to pull thoughts into focus. Thoughts more than what to make for lunch, what the kids need to be studying and did I finish all the things I needed to today.
Then, sometimes, I read an article like Ann Voskamp’s about her journey in Iraq and I wonder what on earth I could say. I sat utterly silent after reading about the journey of the women in Iraq, about the true horrors and suffering. Talking about my inability to complete my laundry sounded just a little petty.
Still, that is mostly the stuff of which my days consist: Laundry. Dishes. Lunches. Dinners.
Or is it?
There is a discipline to our thoughts. When I am lazy the words do not come, mostly because the thinking is vague and random. I tend to mope.
No one wants to read moping.
I have to go back to Ann Voskamp, who has been bringing me a bit out of this funk of undisciplined thought. Her book and challenge to count our blessings. To write them down and remember them…all the way up to 1000 and beyond. One Thousand Gifts. Discipline our thoughts and our vision to see the wonder and blessings around us.
Write them down. Look at them and be amazed by all the wonders around us. All the blessings, even in suffering.
Just after beginning to count these blessings that fill my life, I drove on a quiet Tennessee country road to pick up the eldest from a party. Just at twilight. In the early summer. If you have lived in the South, you know what that can mean: Fireflies. Lightning bugs.
There was an aroma of honeysuckle, everything was green, the air was cool and the windows down. The light caught my eye and I thought it was ribbons farmers use to keep birds from eating their crops. Then another field, filled with this twinkling light. Thousands of fireflies.
This exercise in counting blessings brings an awareness that this reality of ours is not so simple. It is touched by eternity, touched by a Creator who delights in fireflies and fuzzy chicks, sunsets and landscapes. A Creator who gives gifts, even some gifts that challenge us.
I wonder if the women in Iraq can number their blessings to 1000. Maybe I am greedy in seeing the blessings I have, and sometimes try to hoard.
That is not what they are for. They strengthen us and move us beyond our funk, beyond our mundane days, beyond our limitations. These wonders and blessings remind us that God is, and that He is near. They remind us that we can walk in a faith which expands our feeble actions.
Go and read the update Ann wrote after people responded to her first article. Really…go and read the Update. Now.
Sometimes I come to this blog and think all I have to write about with depth is the journey of my Mother’s Dementia. Heavy things. Hard things.
Or I write about birthdays. Light things. Joyous things.
The reality is, most of life is spent somewhere in between. We cannot constantly focus on the struggle or we exhaust ourselves. We cannot constantly analyze and postulate about the deeper meaning. Sometimes we have to do the laundry, or color a picture with a three year old.
And those things don’t sound terribly interesting to write about…yet maybe they are just the things I should think about.
I’ll end with this…reading Walter Wangerin Jr.’s book Letters from the Land of Cancer:
“But the promises of the Lord endure forever. He and his promises – Jesus, between the making and the keeping them – these embrace Time. They give Time its edges and its shape. And it is not wrong, on days like this one, to take one’s stand as well as one’s rest within such Time, the anteroom of eternity. Not in order to blind ourselves to the iniquities and the woundings around us, nor to withdraw from our service on behalf of the wounded, but simply to rejoice.
It is a good day. Gladness is available. Christ is at hand.”
Whatever this moment holds: suffering, joy, mundane duties, boredom, excitement. Whatever the moment holds…Christ is present. That really does change everything.