I’m back to reading Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. So today is my Voskamp/Eliot mashup, if such a thing is possible.
I huddle in my sheets, drinking my coffee as I read,
“I awake to I AM here. When I’m present, I meet I AM, the very presence of a present God. In His embrace, time loses all sense of speed and stress and space and stands so still…and holy.
Here is the only place I can love Him.”
When I say,
I don’t want this day
I don’t want this moment
I don’t want these tasks or this conversation or this job
I am saying, I don’t want this God.
This I AM that is present in the moment. That is Himself the present tense.
I start. I flinch. My coffee jolts.
Is that what I’m saying?
When I reject the present, I reject the I AM.
The I AM in the moment.
He is present in every one. In every moment.
My very breath proof of His presence.
I flash to Eliot, a phrase from Burnt Norton that caught my heart many years ago: “Wind in and out of unwholesome lungs.”
I am the unwholesome and He is the wind. In and out. In and out. In the rhythm of I AM.
All day I try to embrace the moment. I really try. I write notecard reminders. I consecrate my desk and my space and my tasks.
Dissatisfaction oozes in.
They can’t occupy the same space: gratitude and discontent.
I can only see the NOT ENOUGH.
Ann has a cure for this too.
She recounts the story of Jesus feeding the masses with the not enough of loaves and fishes. A phrase jumps out to her, this woman “sleuthing for glory.” She sees right there in the text that before the miracle, before the full bellies, before the multiplication of the not enough, HE GAVE THANKS.
“Gave thanks…I’d missed it and all of my life?
I’d never considered those two words, the bridge words there in the middle, the crossing over that took the not enough and made it enough.”
But, I protest, I can’t give thanks until I know what the future holds. Thankfulness is bondage to complacency. Saying things are okay right now ensures certain paralysis, right?
I am born to move and grow and learn and leave. Where does thanks fit in?
I don’t give thanks because I feel this moment, this circumstance, is not enough.
But wait. Isn’t that what Ann just said? The moment of not enough is precisely when Jesus gives thanks.
“Jesus embraces his not enough…He gives thanks…And there is more than enough.”
Later that day I am at the beach. Saved by daylight savings and one more hour of sun and surf and life. I run, I splash, sand wedges its stubborn way into my shoes. Children erupt in squeals of cold and glee, emerging from the emerald waves with strands of shimmering seaweed.
I reach a doggy beach painted with doggy paw prints with doggy yips and doggy paddles under a piercing blue sky of endless doggy summer. I stop my body, but my breath pants on, the wind in and out of unwholesome lungs.
And at last I gasp, give thanks, “It is more than enough.”
I am born to move and grow and learn and leave. This gratitude in motion is second nature. It’s the sedentary thankfulness that will require more discipline.
Today I write more notecards. I consecrate my desk and space and time once again. Calm in my-not-so-ergonomically-designed desk chair, I force myself to notice my quiet breaths: wind in and out of unwholesome lungs.
And give thanks, waiting for the more than enough.