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Category Archives: gratitude

Will It Blend? Affirmative.

Back in November Bob and I agreed that we neither needed nor wanted anything by way of  Christmas gifts. We share a common lack of interest in material “stuff” and a clear sense that God  has blessed us with every truly important thing already.  More is generally not better, usually it’s just more. So it was settled. The simple joys would reign–time with family,  gratitude, sharing our blessings.  Agreed. Ix-nay on the esents-pray.

On  Christmas morning when the grand-kids had opened everything in sight, one very large package remained untouched behind the couch. (I know what you’re thinking. No, it wasn’t a  Red Ryder BB gun.) Bob pushed it toward me with a half-sheepish, half-excited grin on his face.  It was a Blendtec–you know, one of those multi-function-super-blenders that doubles as a cement-mixer. Yep.  Bob had wandered into COSTCO the day before, looking for athletic socks. He wandered out with two pizzas and a Blendtec, socks forgotten as visions of smoothies danced in his  head.

Can I tell you, I dig the Blendtec? Best toy I’ve had in years. Every day we pull fruits and veggies out of the fridge or freezer and concoct some amazing smoothie creation.  So far I have successfully suppressed my almost-daily urges to toss some oddment or other into it. I go into Ralphie-esque trances envisioning Dad’s crescent wrenches or half a dozen pairs of reading glasses or my entire ring of keys (clicker included) or the In-N-Out sandals from the laundry room shoe shelf whirling around with a mighty racket in our ferocious new machine. It probably wasn’t a great idea to watch so many “Will It Blend?” clips on YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/user/Blendtec?blend=3&ob=0

I resist those more interesting urges in favor of bananas and strawberries and mangoes and such. Ya gotta love technology. I mean–I make my breakfast in a kitchen appliance that probably has more torque than my mini-van. The novelty has yet to wear off. Will it blend?

Anyway, I’m pulling out of a pretty rough patch with my Parkinson’s these past few months and I’ve been thinking about life.  I have come to the conclusion that, yes, it will blend. The love of God, the perfect atoning grace of Jesus Christ can handle anything that life throws at us. Sometimes, I confess, I look at a particular challenge or detail that gets tossed into the mix of mortality and I think, “No way. No can do. I didn’t order that. Where’s the milk and the honey? My jar is full. No more ingredients, please, especially not those ones.” Hard, rough-edged scraps of white-hot metal whirl around with thorns and nails and small, sharp bits of gravel from my shoes. And tears. Then atoning blood. And just when I fear that the noise and the grinding will overcome me, the shiny rotor-blades stop and I see that everything–the whole jar full–has become smooth and strong and somehow beautiful.  I take the cup in trembling hands, oddly grateful that it did not entirely pass from me. Holding it willingly, I notice that only a few drops sit in the bottom. Someone else has already taken the rest. All of it that was bitter or toxic or scalding has been swallowed up in His perfect love. What remains is clear and cool and slightly sweet and the taste of it on my tongue changes my face forever.
Blender philosophizing? That’s a first. But God is  good. His infinite mercy gets me through life’s rough, inexplicable, heart-rending challenges and gives me hope and power to rejoice. “The crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain.” (Isaiah 40:4) In other words: It will blend.
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Acknowledgement

 

Whoa. Slow down a minute. My calendar still says November and we haven’t had turkey yet. But retail America has long since rolled out the holly-jolly-making-a-list-checking-it-twice-most-wonderful-time-of-the-year hoopla. My nearby COSTCO kicked off the Christmas season in September. Forgive my old-fashioned prudishness, but I happen to love Thanksgiving. Really, really love it. Does anyone else have to fight the urge to spank the Little Drummer Boy with his own drumsticks, pa-rum-pa-pum-pum, and put him in time out until after December 1st? Couldn’t we give Thanksgiving a little space and still do Christmas right?
I suppose I should feel grateful that Thanksgiving flies in under the radar and avoids the commercial exploitation that surrounds Christmas. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I love it so much. Thanksgiving is still about what it’s all about. We awaken somehow from the hurried and heedless race to make ends meet and cover the bases and keep the wolf from the door. Our eyes open and come into focus. Pausing, awed and breathless, we notice it. Abundance. Everywhere. Then our hearts open and come into focus and we wonder why we ever doubted or complained or despaired. The act of giving thanks transforms us and refreshes the life in our lives. Economic downturn and global warming and H1N1 and Brad and Angelina fade next to the glowing gifts of any single day.
So at the risk of sounding trite, and in the absence of animated twinkle-lighted lawn pilgrims, I’d like to begin Thanksgiving early. I am thankful. Life sweeps me off my feet and brings me to my knees. I give thanks–for Meyer lemons and sourdough chocolate cake, for faded jeans and well-worn Keens, for Bob’s deep dimples and deeper goodness and warm, strong hands, for automatic sprinklers, down comforters, and Skype. For Bach, Basie, and the Beatles. For the happy wrinkles around my eyes and being called “Nana.” For sharp knives and sharp cheese and Sharpies. Indoor plumbing and outdoor dogs. For winding trails and wild lupine and North Face. For red rock and rainforests and Half Dome. For five senses, five day work weeks, five o’clock. For solitude and sociality. Snuggling. Laughter. For words and ideas and good books and the smell of the library. For warmth and light and dark, still night. For goodly parents, and magnificent daughters, sons, siblings, friends.
Not just this week, or next, I give thanks. I thank an all-wise Father who knows me perfectly and loves me anyway and never gives up on this deeply flawed but profoundly grateful child. Thanks . . . for every single day of precious, precious life. Thank You.
Shades of elementary school–what are you thankful for today? What unexpected abundance have you noticed this year?

>Dappled Things

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I love November more than almost any other month. Something about this time of year sets my soul singing. The words to my late Fall spirit-song pop up from myriad sources–the scriptures (especially Isaiah and Psalms), memories of music or books from my childhood, favorite poems whose passages jumble together, and the unwritten verses that lie banked and flickering in my mind until autumn blows on them and they kindle briefly to life. This week one of my favorite poems has throbbed  in me every day, like a low Thanksgiving chant. Maybe your soul would like to sing too, but doesn’t know the lyrics. Try out Gerard Manley Hopkins’ gorgeous November-worthy lines. They fit, I think:

Pied Beauty

GLORY be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.



                                                                                               Gerard Manley Hopkins

So now that your mind is working in word music, what poem or scripture or passage of any kind best captures the grateful song in your soul? What are you thankful for? Please share it in a comment on this blog post, so that we can all  read. (It’s not that hard, friends. Click on the “Comments” line below. Scroll down until you see the “Post a comment” form. Type your comment in the space provided and click on “Post Comment. Voila!) Leave a thread of gratitude for me to catch hold of and weave into the fabric of my Thanksgiving this year.