A friend of mine, a very intelligent, insightful, kind hearted woman, invited me to a group that she was initiating called "our 1000 gifts". After reading the aforementioned book, she felt the need to start writing down her own 1000 gifts, and invited a bunch of us to join her. Well, you know me, I hadta read the book that provoked the inspiration! Here is my review of just a chapter... I'll be back with more...
First of all, are you familiar with Slam Poetry? "Pretty" by Katie Makkai, "Seen Not Heard" by Roxy Azari, oh yeah, and
Taylor Mali "What Teachers Make", and Sarah Kay "Hands" or "B"
It's been around, but I just discovered it. Anyhow, this author writes like her entire book is going to be read at some slam poetry event. Not quite full sentences sometimes, flowing, flowery words that wax and wane... I find myself reading some paragraphs 2 or 3 times to get past the feel and fully grasp what she is saying. It's not that she's saying anything super high tech rocket science brilliant, but it's still profound, in it's simplicity. Do you know what I mean?
I'm on Chapter 5, it's about Grace. Her little boy caught his hand in the fan blades... cut up but he still has a hand... and it occurs to her, yeah, sure, Praise God, he didn't lose his hand. WHAT if he did? Grace is about, she explains, thanking Him, being grateful, for whatever lesson is being taught, whatever reason God has for something happening.
Can I extrapolate and say that this addresses all those questions of, "if there is a God, why does he let bad things happen to good people, or innocent babies, or someone who already has their share of hardships?" The message I hear is that being grateful/thankful is easy when it's for the beauty around us, or an easy time at the dentist, etc etc, but being full of grace involves being grateful, even when the message/experience isn't enjoyable.
"With Joy comes pain".... this concept speaks to something that's occurred to me for quite a while now. Eventually we lose EVERY earthly thing we have ever possessed, and every single person we have ever loved... depressing thoughts... but part of life, I suppose. What has occurred to me personally is that .... knock on wood... I've not really had that much pain in my life. (When is it gonna happen, and is it gonna be a doozie because I need to catch up on my "pain" quota?) I've not had anyone really close to me die. My mom had cancer, as did my husband. Both overcame, for the time being anyway. No one has had any serious health issues, I'm fairly healthy, (tho morbidly obese and slowing down). It's kinda that paranoid feeling you get during nursing school when you're absolutely certain you've got x, y and z disease that you just learned about in Micro...
I digress. What I'm getting out of chapter 5 is that, if we're grateful, and truly gracious in our daily lives and attitudes, then we don't question Gods sovereignty when something painful happens. You hear it over and over again, "God has a plan". Well, in all our graciousness, how dare we question his judgement about something that he "lets" happen? He has this master plan for the whole universe, all things fit together to run smoothly, or at least, as they're supposed to. GOD SEES THE FOREST THRU THE TREES!!! Who am I, a meager conifer, to question his care of the whole woods!
Lastly, "grace that chooses to bear the cross of suffering OVERCOMES the suffering... "
Looking around and being grateful has opened my eyes, and my heart. I'm curious to see what else she has to say, and lastly, to compare it to my own beliefs that have gone basically towards mother earth, Angels, Spirit Guides, meditation and transcendence. (with God at the top of the hierarchy, if you will) In the meantime, slowing down, looking around, writing down the gifts, seems like a reasonable and natural response.
Pressing on, stay tuned for chapter 6...