It's not a new practice, the keeping of a gratitude journal. In fact, I wrote about in the burnout chapter of Real Learning over 12 years ago. I began just listing three things every night. A good practice, a sound practice. Then, I learned to look with a keener eye, to see that the things I love are in reality the ways God loves me. So, I had a sometimes habit of recording those here, a few at a time. But I didn't cultivate the practice of keeping lists at the ready everywhere and I never really numbered my blessings.
Until last week.
Last week, I learned to number them. Every one.
1~Dear friend who traveled to the airport with me, heard my worries, helped me to move Elizabeth with grace to the hotel, and shared our joy-filled first night. Later, she will rush to my children when they need a mom and I am gone.
2~Veteran traveler, firm believer in internet blessings, gypsy friend: you brought us grace and laughter and we were blessed to have you in our midst in that amazing moment.
3~Patient, wise, good-hearted husband who considered every detail and made it all work
4~All the people entrusted with prayers for this encounter. I knew you were on your knees and I assure you He answered with unimaginable abundance.
5~A kind email with a beautiful prayer--a perfect prayer. We ponder her example, the example of one woman's godly "yes" to this life of grace. And then, she express mails a CD that becomes the soundtrack of fruitful prayer. Infinite blessing.
6~Sung prayers on CD ever-so-briefly before the phone call for which we have waited years. Prayers continuing in the silent backseat. Her eyes meet mine. I know she's imploring God on our behalf. Astonishing moment.
7~The same friend who has cradled me in the shrine in the days when Sarah was fragile--she meets us at the door, wheelchair at the ready, every kindness considered and provided.
9~Ann's shrieks of glee when she learns that Karoline has stowed away for our Thursday together.
10~Elizabeth teaching Karoline to knit and then telling her saints stories as I make frantic phone calls and Ann works nearby.
11~Karoline perfectly narrating all Elizabeth has told her about the deHority children.
12~All the yarn, the needles, the patterns, the love so generously given to us by kind women who abundantly bless us with their generosity (and optimism).
13~Katie curled up with Elizabeth at last, knitting and knitting and knitting.
14~Karoline working with Ann to stamp and seal envelopes with bookplates for American readers. They use Karoline's own handknit washcloth and pray Our Father...
15~Colleen, calling as I leave the airport. I pull over and cry and cry and cry. Joy, relief, grief, exhaustion. And she is there.
16~Mike, calling just after Colleen. Treasure shared.
17~The bagel store on the way home. Warm. I notice bouquets of wheat on the tables there. Eucharisteo.
18~Putting bagels in the trunk, I see what Ann has left me. And I smile. A page a day of blessings from One Thousand Gifts, a mug, and a new journal. I read the day's entry. Today, I begin to number. Today. Right now.
19~Ginny, who meets us at the edge of the woods, picks up my knitting and assures me the creative journey has just begun.
20~Renewed faith in friendship.
Won't you please come by again on Wednesday to see more pictures and read more about our knitting and the invaluable lessons I learned?