Message in a Bottle




Walking around the kitchen, listening to Little Abear and Mr. Abear talk about dessert and thankful I have enough emotional energy to put the dishes away, the energy to pull myself away from another round of silent ingratitude for everything I've lacked and the worries that plague me, it stops me dead still. This mundane act of taking lids off of bottles to recycle the glass and throw away the lid, this two-day old lid stops me with the words printed inside
"BE GRATEFUL FOR WHAT YOU HAVE"
and Mr. Abear, knowing this journey I'm on remarks with
"sounds like Someone's trying to tell you something".
In a world where social media perpetuates insta-ingratitude for everything I covet, I am reminded to step back again. In reading about Eucharisteo and the thankfulness that precedes miracles, I am able to slow down with Little Abear and watch as he spins, green hat in hand from arm extended, and be there in that moment with him. Wonder in it. Oh how things must look to 3 year olds, to really be present in everything they do, to be thankful for the moment.

As I write I reach for the volume to turn the music up, drown out the sounds of bath time because I really can't handle two times the sound anymore, and then I retract because I can relish in the combination of melodies. Sudsy toddler happy in the bath wafting in against my redemption songs. I'm being made whole again, slowly this restoration is yearning to happen. And the music sings "that devil whispered lies I've believed..."

"Isn't it here? The wonder? Why do I spend so much of my living hours struggling to see it? Do we truly stumble so blind that we must be affronted with blinding magnificence for our blurry soul-sight to recognize grandeur? The very same surging magnificence that cascades over our every day here. Who has time or eyes to notice? All my eyes can seem to fixate on are the splatters of disappointment across here and me. 

...

The face of Jesus flashes. Jesus, the God-Man with his own termination date. Jesus, the God-Man who came to save me from prisons of fear and guilt and depression and sadness. With an expiration of less than twelve hours, what does Jesus count as all most important? "And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them..." (Luke 22:19 NIV). 

...

"One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him -- and he was a Samaritan" (Luke 17:15-16 NIV). Yes, thankfulness, I know. Next verse. 
Jesus asked, "were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" Then he said to him, "Rise and go; your faith has made you well." (Luke 17:17 - 19 NIV)

Wait, I trace back. Hadn't Jesus already completely healed him? Exactly like the other nine who were cured who hadn't bothered to return and thank Him. So what does Jesus mean, "Your faith has made you well"? Had I underinterpreted this passage, missed some hidden mystery? I slow down and dig. I read Jesus' words in Young's Literal Translation, "And [Jesus] said to him, 'Having risen, be going on, thy faith has saved thee.'" Saved thee? I dig deeper. It's sozo in the Greek. Many translations render sozo as being made "well" or "whole," but its literal meaning, I read it -- "to save." Sozo means salvation. It means true wellness, complete wholeness. To live sozo is to live the full life. Jesus came that we might live life to the full; He came to give us sozo. And when did the leper receive sozo -- the saving to the full, whole life? When he returned and gave thanks. I lay down my pen. Our very saving is associated with our gratitude. Mrs. Morrison hadn't mentioned this. But... of course. If our fall was the non-eucharisteo, the ingratitude, then salvation must be intimately related to eucharisteo, the giving of thanks."

Excerpts from "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp

And the music plays on as I write this post... "and the sun it does not cause us, the sun it does not cause us to grow. It is the rain that will strengthen, the rain that will strengthen your soul."

Maybe a part of gratitude must be made because of the healing, but yet another aspect of gratitude must come despite the hurt for there is still a Good God. Gratitude for anything good that has happened because of the hurt, while the pain still swarms around angrily.

I've been on this journey of "never enough", and I'm learning for a thankful heart in the now. And Little Abear closes the night with his sweetest prayer, asking God to help us be grateful. Thanking God for his boat bed, our chairs, his Wheezy... the mundane of it all. I am almost moved to tears because God is speaking again. Three times in one day. And this time He speaks through a little meek voice, the way that always brings me to listen deep.