Monday, September 5, 2011

Panning for Gold

"Gratitude is an art of of painting an adversity into a lovely picture." Kak Sri

Kak Sri and I speak two different languages. We live on different continents. We don't share the same religion, culture or skin-tone, and we don't like the same foods. I can't even properly pronounce his name, but in this statement, we agree. You don't have to have much in common with a person to learn from them, or appreciate the eloquence with which they are able to state an idea that has been buzzing in and around your head for awhile.

I think I'll add "the ability to learn from others regardless of our differences" to my list.

Yesterday, I began compiling a list of 1,000 gifts because I read a book that dared me to do so, written by an ordinary woman, only a bit more like me than Kak Sri, who was dared to do the same. I've mentioned One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are in my last two posts, so if you read regularly, you may already be weary of reading my rants about it. But believe me, it's worth ranting about.

While reading the book, I learned that gratitude actually equals a great many things. Kak Sri mentions one in his quote, but this book states many equivalents--clear sight, purpose, joy, intimacy with God--all of which, I desperately desire.

Last week, like much of life, was difficult. I won't give details, but you know how difficulties seem to come in sets of three? Well, I am a witness to the phenomenon. Yesterday morning, I told Brandon, my husband, "I really hope this week isn't like last week." By yesterday evening, my hopes weren't looking too good.

Yesterday was a grey day with scattered rains and impressive wind gusts that seemed to only feed my melancholy. While Micah napped, I made a choice. I couldn't change my circumstances, but I could change my hopes. Instead of hoping for a different week, I decided to hope that I would be distracted from my troubles by offering my thanks to the Giver of Gifts. Without yet knowing of Kak Sri's words, I put them into action.

It may seem short-sighted and childish to look to gratitude as only a distraction, but at the moment, that is what I need. In my quest to be distracted, I am completely, by a God who loves me and gave Himself for me. Yesterday, my list was distraction, an today, my list is joy. We all have to start somewhere.

1) Small hands, stained by bright blue sidewalk chalk
2) The peaceful sound of the wind rolling through the trees, reminding me of ocean waves meeting their end on the shore
3) A soft, soaking rain
4) A crisp, Fall pear fresh from the tree
5) An unexpected meeting with a friend (I so needed her smile and happy spirit yesterday.)
6) Three unsolicited kisses from an adorable red-head--one on each cheek and one on the mouth
7) A black-spotted dog rolling in the grass, basking in the sunshine
8) A mild, beautiful day in early September
9) The caress of a steady, cool breeze on my face; the gentle kiss of a sun ray on my shoulders
10) A two-year-old's belly laugh
11) The ability to learn from others regardless of our differences

Who cares that my only aim was to sift through the sand and muck so I could only see gold? The point is to see Gold. I believe that God is transforming my desire to be distracted from trouble to being distracted by Him, a work that will only continue as I add to my list.

Before I sign off, I want to direct you once again to Ann Voskamp's website. I encourage you to go there, and be blessed. If you are so inspired, order the book. $10 is a bargain price for a good wake-up call.

I also want to share my new favorite song. I can't think of a song that more aptly describes the current state of my heart. You can't yet find it on Youtube, and I can't yet add it to my playlist, but it's worth the trouble of clicking on this link and scrolling down to play the song for free, and/or reading the beautiful lyrics below--

"I go to the riverbed, shoes on the shore
I’m shaking a little bit, hardly know what for
Oh, and the water’s cloudy as the sky
I’m looking for answers in the riverbed of life

I’m panning for gold, I’m panning for gold
Until I have all my heart can hold

I go to the pages handed down and worn
I’m hearing the sages with the Truth on their tongues
Sifting beauty from the layers of ash
I’m tracing the universe with my fingers in the sand

I’m panning for gold, I’m panning for gold
Until I have all my heart can hold

It’s there in the city, where the nations converge
It’s in the graffiti and the shapes of the earth
Choir lofts and kitchens, where voices ring loud
Reflections of grace, shining glory over doubt

I’m panning for gold, I’m panning for gold
Until I have all my heart can hold
I’m panning for gold, I’m panning for gold
Take all I can hold

I go to the riverbed
I go to the riverbed"

May I meet you all at the Riverbed, pans ready and eyes wide open. There is Gold to be found by all who would see.