I have to be purposeful at most things in life. Now, if you know us, you also know that we are quite spontaneous. I am not diminishing the beauty found in sudden acts of whim. But most of life, rather most of what I want out of life, only happens if I am purposeful.
Like helping my daughter “train” for her first run race.
Like writing this…
Last January I chose my word for the year and wrote:
GRATITUDE- (‘GRAETI, TJU:D) – N.
-A feeling of thankfulness or appreciation, as for gifts or favours
Really this definition misses what I am trying to focus on. It isn’t just being thankful…My husband and I were having a conversation on the way to the rock gym one day and I loved the way he put it: “Gratitude seems like more than just being thankful. It is looking around you and seeing bounty everywhere. No matter the circumstances.”
And I’ve been learning a lot about purposeful thankfulness. Last weekend, on the way to the Princess Run, we stopped our excited conversation for a few moments and thanked God for our legs that could run, our beautiful mountains, golden leaves and sunny weather to run in. All this was little and non-monumental, however it became a little more monumental when we cheered on the last little girl to finish the princess race- a little girl with Cerebral Palsy.
Yes, thank you for legs that run…
Last week, in the middle of a rather jaw clenching, irritating car ride, we started something we call “popcorn thanks.” Now maybe you don’t pray. Maybe you don’t believe in God. But stopping to say a few things you are thankful for doesn’t require either of those things. So do it how you like. But we finished our drive by thanking God for specific traits in our kids, our family, our lives. And by the end of the ride, we were peaceful, energized in fact, by and for our family.
Gratitude is powerful. Thankfulness is contagious.
Here is the truth, you cannot stop to be thankful when life is spiraling around you. Well… if you are caught up in the spiral. Dizzy eyes don’t see the beauty. Rather, they leave you feeling sick, unsteady, uncertain. They jump around grasping for a clear edge, a firm furnishing to grab hold of.
Slow eyes can see and notice. Gratitude draws our world to a slow spin. And as we slow down, we can embrace more thankfulness. It is like a circle. Sometimes I hate circles. Especially if I am outside of them. How to I get in?
As Ann Voskamp says in “One Thousand Gifts”:
I don’t really want more time. I want enough time. Time to breath deep and time to see real and time to laugh long, time to give You glory and rest deep and sing joy and just enough time in a day not to feel hounded, pressed, driven, or wild to get it all done – yesterday…
I slow the torrent with the weight of me all here. I can slow the torrent by being all here.
So, here is to slow eyes amidst the spiraling world I live in…What about you? What have you been learning lately?