When Trace was a buzzed head four-year old and I was nine months pregnant with his sister, I leaned over to pick up one of his hot wheels. He asked me with a puzzled tone, “Mama, is your bottom going to have a baby too?”
That boy is lucky he made it to college.
It’s been two full weeks since we dropped him off at Mabee dorm 526 miles away. I feel like I’ve been dressing up mopey Mabel in a happy face ever since. And I hate it because being sad and out of sorts makes me feel itchy and like a stranger in my skin.
But the gifts are piling up in spite of all the strangeness and this quiet Monday morning begs for a little back to the basics gratitude sermon to self. Eucharisteo is a superpower after all.
Just because something feels hard and sad and awkwardly lonely, doesn’t mean its bad. A new season has arrived. It is what it is and a heart that squeezes into the discipline of gratitude pours truth perspective over all the feelings.
“Giving thanks for one thousand things is ultimately an invitation to slow time down with weight and full attention…Full attention fills the empty ache.”
“Something always comes to fill the empty spaces and this is what I’ve come to do with white space. I invite thanks. For this is HIs will, thanks the one thing He asks to be done in everything and always and only because He knows what precedes the miracle.” Ann Voskamp (of course)
So I pull out the list and get started counting, because while I’ve tried to force myself into happy pants, legitimate grace has poured my way:
-Staff and faculty of university dedicated to loving your son
-Trace’s chance encounter in the bookstore with Caren and her classic reaction
-Abby’s daily back up mother presence on campus for both kids
-New traditions to begin with a family of three
-Text/pic from Angie with her Trace hug
-Old friends with history
-No news is good news
-The perfect GA placement for Caitlin
-Her new friends
-Dinner at the Sullivans for Trace…
-And then DavaLynn’s sweet reassuring message
-Caro’s first High school volleyball scrimmage
And holy cow, what do you know? Hand cramped and heart lifted I realize Ann’s wisdom is true.
“Thanks always precedes the miracle.”
Practice, practice, practice. I look forward to the slowing down thankfulness of this ordinary story.