This break from writing nearly every day is both welcome and intrusive, oddly enough. Taking some time off this holiday season I hope is helping to clear my head and focus my thoughts, before diving into 2012. I didn't realize I needed it. But it's amazing how quickly my writing muscles feel flabby after only a few days or weeks of lighter use. It's not unlike staying in shape. We work our tushes off to achieve our desired level of physical fitness, only to watch it disintegrate after two weeks of time off, several holiday meals, a few slices of pie... Ah, well, more challenge to keep us on our toes, I suppose.
Looking back on 2011, I see several themes in my writing, and if you've read long enough, I'm sure you've noticed, too. The huge one: gratitude. I didn't intend for this to be my theme for "Beautiful rubbish," but over the year, it unobtrusively took over my writing. And I'm so glad it did. It makes a great deal of sense to me, this theme of gratitude at the heart of my blog - of my life. I'm learning, with time, that cultivating a lifestyle of genuine gratitude holds the power of transforming rubbish into beauty. Whether that rubbish be the mundane or ordinary, the frivolous, the ugly, the painful, the things I'd rather forget or deny I'm in the midst of, it's all within the grasp of transformation if I'm willing to learn to see through to the real beauty.
One of the pastors at my church nailed this theme square on the head recently when he said, "The bible never says to give thanks for everything, but in everything." Big difference.
Everything hinges on that for me. It's taken me nearly thirty years to learn to grasp this simple thing. I'm not asked to give thanks for cancer or AIDS, for the death of a loved one, for poverty or natural disasters, for lost jobs, for depression or loneliness or anxiety. I'm simply asked to thank God in all things. For in all things, God is present, and with his presence, there is grace abundant, there is hope. Not everyone has experienced this, not everyone believes this, but I am intimately acquainted with walking through the darkness and looking back, with time, to see the outline of God emerge beside me. I need no more convincing that he is an ever present help in times of trouble, that he will never leave me or forsake me, that his mercies are new every morning and his faithfulness is great.
I look forward to a new year, to stepping into new adventures, to learning to stay put when I need to in a posture of gratitude. For Christmas, Ricardo is making me a website for Beautiful Rubbish, and I'm excited to share that with you all, soon.
Enjoy the end of this year, enjoy the moments...