I'm laying on my stomach on the bed, staring out through open blinds at spindly tree shadows projected on the brick apartment building across the way. The breeze blows with cool breath through the window and I pause to acknowledge it on my skin, receive its refreshing touch. I need it.
Just today I finally pick up a book, filled with sentences already underlined in my uneven marks. A book with words so real and fresh and true that, one year ago, came close like a dear friend and led me down a path I didn't see before. The path of giving thanks every day, in everything, opening up my eyes to see and filling my life more full of grace. The book is One thousand gifts, by Ann Voskamp. Here I thought I was doing so well, seeing through hard and ugly and unwanted things to the beauty. Seeing God in these places. Turns out, I merely reached a fork in the road of an unending life journey and new circumstances to test my newfound way of being.
Life is funny like that.
The truth is, my eyes are often too blinded to see the silver lining in the clouds - at least lately. I squint and I sweat and I strain, and some days, I just pull the covers over my head and say I'll try again tomorrow. Feelings of depression and discouragement pound the door like some unrelenting collections officer. Some days, I throw off the covers, climb out of bed and answer the door, telling them to get lost, that my debt's already been paid. And other, less glorious days, I sit in the dark room, paralyzed as they continue to knock. This is the ugly, un-edited, un-airbrushed truth. Yes, I struggle hard.
I need to learn to see, still. I need it to live more fully than this. Ann reminds me in her unique and compelling prose that the depth of my joy runs only as deep as the depth of my gratitude. When gratitude runs on empty, so does joy. So simple, it seems. So attainable, it can be. So much work it is to harness the will into practice. At least in the beginning. But this I know, that gratitude is a fire that must continually be fed, or it will diminish to glowing embers, and then, disappear into darkness.
So I pick up the book and return to press on in the journey, to uncover yet another layer of this life of grace in giving thanks. For my soul hungers for joy - and there is much joy to be had.