On gratitude, gifts and living in the moment.
Let us remember that the life in which we ought to be interested is “daily” life.
We can, each of us, only call the present time our own…
Our Lord tells us to pray for today, and so he prevents us
from tormenting ourselves about tomorrow.
It is as if [God] were to say to say: “[It is I] who gives you this day [and]
will also give you what you need for this day.
[It is I] who makes the sun to rise.
[It is I] who scatters the darkness of night and
reveals to you the rays of the sun.
~ Gregory of Nyssa, on the Lord’s Prayer
I’m looking for the moments of abundant life, the ones that show He is enough and my season of life is enough.
Did I just miss them before? Was I so busy trying to change the world, trying to make my own progress as a pilgrim, that I simply didn’t see them? Or is it that I didn’t value them, these small beads of light, these small snowflake-moments that have become an avalanche of purpose?
Because now, every day, my heart stops and I feel something in me, deep in my joints say, “This.”
I’m not sure if it’s Holy-Spirit-inspiration or spiritual discipline (probably a bit of both) but I hear it just the same. It’s like a shutter clicks in my brain and I look for someone to mark that moment with me, seeking my husband’s eyes and seeing that same look in his, mirrored back over the babies between us in the warm bed. Meeting across the supper table when we all shout “ONE BIG HAPPY FAMILY!” like a prayer. Or when we sprawl in the living room, exhausted from the day.
“This.” Right here, this is enough. And everything.
But there are moments when I feel like all I will do for the rest of my life is look after children. The monotony of it feels endless sometimes. The selflessness that it demands of me is refining. The give and give and give some more can sometimes leave me wondering, “When will it be my turn?” Did I go to university to spend the rest of my life changing diapers, soothing, doling out Cheerios and having pureed carrots spat in my face?
So clearly, I have moments when I’m tired, frustrated, selfish, guilty and bored.
And then there are moments when I feel reborn. There are moments when I feel like I’m on a speeding train and this precious time of my life is going way too fast for my liking. Most of my moments feel like they glow from within–a light so fierce that all of me that is hard and selfish is being burnt to ashes. I am full of joy, a happiness the world would never understand in the simplicity of it. I think this is a gift, a precious gift, and I’m trying to wring just a few more moments out of the day.
There are moments when I breathe deeply. Another day already over. The whispered prayers at bedtime. The rocking chair times in the night while the rest of the city sleeps. The tiny rituals that just yesterday felt monotonous, today, bring comfort. The warmth of these moments have warmed the coldest parts of my heart, turning my heart of stone to a heart of flesh again. Moments when I feel like I can hardly breathe around the swell of gratitude.
I have moments when I’m truly alive, full of love, grateful, bright and beautiful.
I joined the 1000 Gifts community at A Holy Experience a few years ago and, let me be honest, it has deepened my life, my parenting and my marriage because the practice of eucharisteo has given me eyes to see the gifts, to begin to understand the words of St. Gregory above. Every Monday, we take a bit of time to record all of the gifts in the daily present time that we call our own. This awareness has given me the gift of being fully present in my own life, instead of just a spectator. I think it’s not so much that I am more present, as much as it is that I have invited and welcomed His Presence into every aspect of my life now.
If you would like to read more about eucharisteo, check out Ann Voskamp’s “A Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Life Fully Right Where You Are” and consider joining the 1000 Gifts community or simply begin the process, quietly, in your own journal.
See you there on Monday, my SheLoves sisters.
Because you’ll be on my list, you know.
Grace and peace,