25 November 2010

let me paint

welcome morning - anne sexton

there is joy in all:
in the hair I brush each morning.
in the cannon towel, newly washed,
that I rub my body with each morning.
in the chapel of eggs I cook each morning,
in the outcry from the kettle
that heats my coffee each morning,
in the spoon and the chair that cry
"hello there, anne" each morning,
in the godhead of the table
that I set my silver plate, cup upon each morning.

all this is God,
right here in my pea-green house each morning
and I mean
though often forget,
to give thanks,
to faint down by the kitchen table
in a prayer of rejoicing
as the holy birds at the kitchen window
peck into their marriage of seeds.

so while I think of it,
let me paint a thank-you on my palm
for this God,
this laughter of the morning,
lest it go unspoken.

the joy that isn't shared, I've heard,
dies young.

whenever I think about being thankful I come back to this poem. it reminds me to be thankful for everything. every detail. and lately I have just been floored with how awesome and cool and amazing God is. and that reminds me to be thankful. because he works all things for good. and to his glory. and there are one in the same. and I cannot comprehend how he does it. so all I can be is thankful.

in my grand tradition of painting a thank-you on my palm here are five things I am thankful for - one for each of my fingers - with the hope that I can share my joy before it "dies young."

pinkie: I am thankful for details. I love seeing the little aspects of life that I miss if I don’t look hard enough. lately people watching has been a big thing for me. and dc has proved to be a very useful place to practice. watching the way people interact on the train. watching the way they walk down the street. watching the way the kids in youth group are a family. the way they hug each other and love each other in a way that truly mirrors how Christ loves us. watching the way the rainclouds move slowly in. and then watching the raindrops fall as people in umbrellas run through the rain looking for shelter.

ring: I am thankful for my morning walk to the train. let's be honest, most of the time I hate commuting. but on the mornings when it is nice enough weather (and I am not running late for work) the mile-long walk to the metro station is refreshing. it is such a nice way to wake up and be thankful for the day that has been given to me. to see the blue sky and feel the cold morning air mix with the rising sun on my skin. to walk in time with music and remind myself that God is good. all the time.

middle: I am thankful for people who smile for no reason. every once in a while I will catch someone smiling just because. sometimes, on the train, they're reading and find something funny that no one else can see. sometimes I think they just remember something and it reminds them that life is really great. sometimes - and this is always the best - they will smile at me for no apparent reason too. and that just makes me happy. because people around here don't smile too often. they are much too serious for that. but every once in a while - when they look up from the street or the newspaper or their phone and smile - well that just makes me so thankful to be a human being.

pointer: I am thankful for flowers. this is an easy one because, let's face it, flowers are a must in winter. when things are cold and dreary I try to have a continuous flow of flowers reminding me that life is just so very beautiful and worth all the hard stuff that we go through. reminding me that growth and sanctification are hard but always produce that which is beautiful to God.

thumb: I am thankful for friends. I know this seems cliche to say in the thanksgiving season, but lately it's been more true than ever. as I have begun to finally connect with people in dc and as I have had such wonderful friends visit me and call me and care for me well from 3,000 miles away, I have been astounded by how awesome community is. for a long time I used it as a crutch to rely on other people instead of God. but lately I have been learning how community is necessary not because it replaces God - but because it is a reflection of the perfect community we will one day have with him. and when I realized that everything about my friendships changed. the way I love people. the way I receive love from them. every aspect of my relationships should glorify God. and when I stop making my relationships about how they satisfy my desires and insecurities and start making sure they are pleasing to God - well that just makes me so much more thankful to know the amazing people that I do.

the joy that isn't shared, I've heard,
dies young.

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