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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Sabbath Rest: Seeing the Small Things Well

 My neighbor and I have a tradition--one entering its second summer season.  I've mentioned it before, but it bears telling again, like an old lady's best story.  We have a bouquet trade going on.  When our flowers begin to bloom in the spring, we each fill a vase and give it to the other. 
 Here is the vase that she gave to me this week...

and the one that I gave to her.

Obviously, we could each have simply gathered our own cut flowers, but we would lose the gift of other-ward intentionality and lose its deep soul benefit, too. 

Thus, "I think I'd like a vase of flowers on the table," becomes "Her in-laws are coming.  A vase of fresh flowers would be good for her right now." In this way, having a vase of flowers becomes an act of receiving rather than an act of gathering. Giving a vase of flowers becomes pure grace, for it costs nothing and invites a return in kind. 

They are small things, but they are the stuff of a blooming soul.

Do not disdain the small.  The whole of life--even the hard--is made up of the minute parts, and if I miss the infinitesimals, I miss the whole.  These are new language lessons, and I live them out.  There is a way to live the big of giving thanks in all things.  It is this:  to give thanks in this one small thing.  The moments will add up.

I, too, had read it often, the oft-quoted verse:  'And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ' (Ephesians 5:20).  And I, too, would nod and say straight-faced, 'I'm thankful for everything.'  But in this counting gifts, to one thousand, more, I discover that slapping  a sloppy brush of thanksgiving over everything in my life leaves me deeply thankful for very few things in life.  A lifetime of sermons on 'thanks in all things' and the shelves sagging with books on these things and I testify: life-changing gratitude does not fasten to a life unless nailed through with one very specific nail at a time.  Little nails and a steady hammer can rebuild a life..."
--1000 Gifts, Ann VosKamp

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