Monday, January 30, 2012

One Thousand Gifts

Some excerpts from Ann Voskamp’s lovely book, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to LIVE FULLY Right Where You Are, which my dear friend Karen Murphy Jensen (Murph) gave me.

So then as long as thanks is possible . . . I think this through. As long as thanks is possible, then joy is always possible. Joy is always possible. Whenever, meaning -- now, wherever, meaning -- here. The holy grail of joy is not in some exotic location or some emotional mountain peak experience. The joy wonder could be here! Here, in the messy, piercing ache of now, joy might be -- unbelievably -- possible! The only place we need see before we die is this place of seeing God, here and now.

Eucharisteo -- thanksgiving -- always precedes the miracle.

“Thanks is what multiples the joy and makes any life large, and I hunger for it.”

Voskamp quotes Erasmus: “A nail driven out by another nail: habit is overcome by habit.” She realizes thankfulness in all things must be learned. “Nails driving out my habit of discontent and driving in my habit of eucharisteo. Because that habit of discontentment can only be driven out by hammering in one iron sharper. The sleek pin of gratitude.”

And learning requires practice. She quotes C.S. Lewis’s advice to a man looking for fullest life: “If you think of this world as a place intended simply for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable: think of it as a place of training and correction and it’s not so bad.”

“This is why I had never learned the language of ‘thanks in all things,’” she writes. Though pastors preached it, I still came home and griped on. I had never practiced. Practiced until it became the second nature, the first skin. Practice is the hardest part of learning, and training is the essence of transformation. Practice, practice, practice. Hammer, hammer, hammer.”

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