Thursday, June 2, 2011

one thousand

It was about 15 months ago that I took up the challenge.  The challenge to have fresh eyes for the world, eyes for beauty.  The challenge for thankfulness.

Could I really find gratitude for 1000 things in my life?

Life was hard.  I had been sick for months and unable to find an answer.  My doctors were in one state, my university in another.  I was barely making it through college, unable to get out of bed some days.  My prayers seemed unanswered.  God seemed far away.  Beauty seemed evasive.  Constant pain meant that my eyes were always focused on myself, on my circumstances.

In this time I read her words.  I read her own search for gratitude, for seeing the everyday common graces that really aren't so common after all.

I started counting.

1.  soft and soothing cello music quieting my soul
2.  getting lost in a bookstore and losing track of the real world for an hour
3.  prayer that comes from so deep within that there are no words - simply the aching and yearnings of a heart 

One by one, I added to the journal the graces I was experiencing.

32.  tear-stained bible pages
33.  rustling leaves in the wind 

The list grew.

118.  laundry flapping in the breeze
119.  repairing rather than starting anew
120.  a majestic tree spreading its limsb
121.  engagement stories
122.  reading books aloud to the borrowed child

I began to see God in the everyday.  I began to see echoes of Eden and glimpses of heaven.  Truer still, I learned to give thanks in the midst of hard circumstances and see beauty in the midst of pain.

408.  skirts with pockets
409.  a song for the day
410.  doctors who listen

Was I learning?  Yes.  Had I arrived?  Absolutely not.  Sometimes a week would go by where I would neglect my little gratitude journal, and worse yet, neglect my search for gratitude.  But I pressed on.

797.  being reminded that "there is no condemnation in Christ"
798.  bestowing on others the grace I relish
799.  growing in wisdom together

998.  reminders taht the best I have to offer is Jesus
999.  a clean kitchen
1000. learning familiar words in an unfamiliar language 

1,000 graces later, I still have not arrived.

Life certainly has changed since I began that list; I wish I could say that the tune of my heart is always a thankful one.  Instead, I can only say that I am still practicing gratitude each day.  But it has made a difference.  Weren't we commanded over and over again to give thanks?

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication
with thanksgiving
let your requests be made known to God"
Philippians 4:6

"Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it
with thanksgiving."
Colossians 4:2

"...give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
I Thessalonians 5:18

"For everything created by God is good,
and nothing is to be rejected if it is received
with thanksgiving."
I Timothy 4:4


  1. In case I never told you, your gratitude journal inspired me in many ways on numerous occasions. Thank you for fighting to see the joy and beauty in life!!!

    Love you, friend=)

  2. Dear Callie,

    It's funny how on days when I am struggling, I want to hear how you're doing. Actually, I think it's God. I know things aren't easy for you, but for some reason you have a strength and faith that is so encouraging to me, and always points me back in the right direction when I'm dealing with the hard stuff too. I am so blessed to have had the chance to meet you. You're a kindred spirit. Thank you, sweet friend.

    Sarah Grandouiller


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