Beautiful Day

Friday, January 18, 2013

Stay Awake

"This is what all the great artists and thinkers do--they stay awake to the wonder of God's world.  Great thinkers are the grateful thankers."
~Ann Voskamp

"There just isn't any need to complain, because whatever circumstances God sends--rain and snow, sickness, and trouble of various kinds--he sends in order to bless us.  But it is impossible to keep an eye out for God's blessings while harboring a complaining spirit.  Grumbling about hard things blocks our expectation of good things, and if we are not looking for good things, we may fail to see them when they come.  That's part of why thankfulness is so important.  Offering thanks to God, no matter what is going on in our lives, is a way of acknowledging that he knows exactly what he is doing and that we can trust him."
~Lydia Brownback, "Joy"

"And so I have to say that another of the golden threads is gratitude.
All through that bad time, when Virgil's absence was wearing into us, when "missing" kept renaming itself more and more insistently as "dead" and "lost forever," I was yet grateful.  Sometimes I was grateful because I knew I ought to be, sometimes because I wanted to be, and sometimes a sweet thankfulness came to me on its own, like a singing from somewhere out in the dark.
I was grateful because I knew, even in my fear and grief, that my life had been filled with gifts."
~Wendell Berry, "Hannah Coulter"

"I am not made for perilous quests," cried Frodo.  "I wish I had never seen the Ring!  Why did it come to me?  Why was I chosen?"
"Such questions cannot be answered," said Gandalf.  "You may be sure that it was not for any merit that others do not posess; not for power or wisdom, at any rate.  But you have been chosen and you must therefore use such strength and heart and wits as you have."
~J.R.R. Tolkien, "The Fellowship of the Ring"

"It is an extraordinary and beautiful thing that God, in creation, uses precisely the same tools and rules as the artist; he works with the beauty of matter; the reality of things; the discoveries of the senses, all five of them; so that we, in turn, may hear the grass growing; see a face springing to life in love and laughter; feel another human hand or the velvet of a puppy's ear; taste food prepared and offered in love; smell--oh, so many things:  food, sewers, each other, flowers, books, new-mown grass, dirt...
Here, in the offerings of creation, the oblations of story and song, are our glimpses of truth."
~Madeleine L'Engle, "Glimpses of Grace"

Thoughts I want to take to heart in a new year.  A year for me I hope will be characterized by more "quiet" and better "habit"; not meaning, of course, that I expect my life or surroundings to be "quiet" always.  Just that I want to stay awake to these words and to the work of God in me, in those I love, and in His great and glorious creation around me.

I'm off to get out of "the fog" that is characteristic of our climate this time of year, and find some sunshine.  Off to be awake to the wonder of God's world around me and to stir up some beauty and creativity.

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

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