Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Pen challenged me to come up with a list, since we're reading 'the good and beautiful God', which so far reads like a reminder if not a full explanation of very true things. It's a taste, or more like a hint of flavor, a bit heavily watered down but palatable? I don't know. Truth. It's working, generating some conversation- since Pen and I struggle so much in trying to communicate... so here it is. My thoughts on Gratitude...

IT IS an antithesis to expectation. It acknowledges the knowing, and being known. It seems it's heart is suffering, with a soul of God is Trustworthy. But I don't like talking about it. It seems a tender almost too private thing. It's like a gift that shouldn't be given on command or just because. When spoken without the story, it lies idle and dies, pictureless. It's too easy.

I pretty much reject it the minute anyone says that I should just go ahead and list what I'm grateful for like a build up to thanksgiving or as a just think, you could be way worse off- which always seemed to me a warped set of reasoning. I sense that to be obedient and disciplined I'd make practice of looking toward the good like i should. In doing so it protects me from the dark and that navel gazing self-destruction of dissatisfaction. Which i admit, for me has crescendoed this year, in the I can bear it no longer category. But I want to come toward it with sincerity. With feeling. Authenticity? I don't want the pain to be rebuffed, or the questioning either- I've done it, and will to other people, because when there is no answer, what else can you do. Direct them toward the light. It is hard to mourn and grieve with others without going a step further into bitterness. When your heart turns and sets in a brittle way that it was never meant to be- so we sidestep. It's hard to ride the road of the psalmist- with their weary bones, and their beseiged by the enemy, and the cry of Lord, are you with us? Where are you? TO...the final end of the passage when they say, walk and wait in the Lord, because He hears me and He is Good.

Everyone's cup of suffering, I think, is unique to them, and what one can bear destroys another. I guess i don't want my gratefulness to destroy the struggle, the tension-- the journey? I'm going through it. I don't want to stop and list off the things that keep me from drowning, because i don't know- it won't ever be enough to sustain me. It keeps me buoyant and light, with a beveled edge, but like suffering it's only the part and not the whole. Poor gratitude. I want to keep it unacknowledged. And it can be breathtaking- the vista- all the things in life that draw you in and keep you there-  when you look toward them, when you nurture and foster the light and hope of things-- but to me freedom, and that is what i want, contentment in all or inspite of circumstance-- and that is a hard road of leaving behind and arriving, and waiting. It is not an easy trust for sometimes faithless creatures. And sometimes I just need to imbibe it and not express it. I need to keep the still tender and fragile thing there until I can step back from the distance and the long line of time and say, this is the record of God's goodness.

But so far, and for now,

  1. the glow of the lights on the christmas tree, the reflection of light on the bulbs. because it's the universe. it's the whole intricate mess of creation.
  2. my cats: the instinctual, trust to be built, looking at you and ascertaining, and building over time as the two natures of us and them collide and come together. those eyes. that twitch of the tail.
  3. my mom, the sustainer and keeper and signal of God's provision for me. the burden seems heavy and i unworthy.
  4. the mountains, sugared with snow, stark and hot against the blue, or dappled in all shades- it reminds me that God is outside of time, that they wait for Him as we wait for Him.
  5. prime rib, He created us to taste, and i thank these cows for their sacrifice everytime.
  6. my friends, not less important than primerib, but they are a reflection of God's knowing, of his creativity, of His delight. they are my most important relationships. even if i were to be married he would not surpass them in their importance.
  7. my car- she's just beautiful. she goes.
  8. the reflection of light as the sun comes west- reminds me of magic and of things unseen- of shadows and dancing movement.
  9. my garden - God's infinite variety, intricacy, specificity, order and chaos.
  10. hot water, demanding i drop what holds me up and knots me in the day
  11. my computer, to communicate, i want, and explore
  12. television, books, movies... there it is the world, we can't look away
  13. praying for people, talking to God, has always been a favorite- there is always so much to say even without a word
  14. salt, flavor bursts.
  15. sugar, enhances
  16. fruit- canNOT get enough. not ever. it's a gift. it's a sign of things to come.
  17. the santa ana winds, mystical calling forth, ushering, whipping through, they come unseen
  18. el nino- it rains, it does, it will come.
  19. the LA river, bird life, reminds me we are literally NOT a desert
  20. California, i am of the land, she is in me, and in the fiber of my being
  21. my ancestory- the web, how time passes, how things move and seperate, what it creates, the history it leaves in it's wake
  22. my hands to type
  23. my mouth to speak
  24. the phrase: ex abundatia enim cordis os loquitor (out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks)
  25. the bible-- what a passage of love, what a saga, what an inspired word
  26. Jesus, he was not just a teacher, or a good person, he was both human and divine and he died for us
  27. the holyspirit, my communicator, my guide, my counselor, who knows when words and groans cannot express
  28. God- there He is. I cannot explain him.
  29. the trinity- there they are altogether. it is inexplicable.
  30. trees, shade- life, roots and all sorts of analogies. hug worthy alway
  31. art supplies- who knew you could render the world in such infinite ways
  32. jet planes, because of that john denver song and because of wunderlust
  33. glitter- call it dust, call it a sign of all things heavenly
  34. just laundered bedsheets, stepping into that newness makes me feel wholly secure and a bit giddy. i'mnot sure why.
  35. waterfalls- i imagine it must be what God's glory looks like
  36. the beach because it reminds me i am small and a part of something bigger
  37. the mountain where i belong and am among and close enough to touch
  38. nails, because i love to pick and scratch
  39. eyes, hazel, to gaze, to ponder, like ears
  40. hymns, at christmas freely express
  41. ecclesia's home, that old pagan temple to the gods of entertainment redefined
  42. mirrors, but not too closely and not all the time
  43. teeth, to play with, like toes, like chin hairs
  44. 7 continents, something solid and sure about the map
  45. dolphins for making me cry when i see them leaping in the wild, because they are
  46. dragons and knowing they must exist like unicorns, for their fierce flyingness and the fire thing that's cool too
  47. music in general expresses emotion, come herald the morning with a sweet song
  48. the way birds call and sing and fly- how focused, and about their lives they are
  49. the lilies of the field, because i know how He cares for them though they live and die in a matter days
  50. gardening, helps me stay connected to every analogy of such thingsin the Bible, a deep rooted understanding of stewardship, of caring for the land and the need to care for what is good in life, and the absolute way in which the dark can infiltrate-
  51. dreams, God has us sleeping 1/3 of ourlives. makes me think i must be doing something while i'm lying there that has nothing to do with this reality.
  52. little bits of things like origami bunnies, metal miniature etruscan horses, walnunts, dried oranges, leather purses, pictures, small bottles, feathers- the fascinating minutia
  53. recounting the ordinary, that is where the life is
  54. feet and hands, the record of someone so vital it rarely is recorded
  55. wax, for candles, for feeling and burning and smelling and tactile loveliness, for polishing and enhancing
  56. the sun, how it rises and sets
  57. the darkblue glow before dawn, which to me is too pale, and that dark blue of prelight is where i like to live best
  58. antiques, because of history, of story, of things that have come and will yet be
  59. the written word, what a transaction
  60. car washes because they are silly
  61. mariokart because who doesn't want to race the world?
  62. xbox where in i defeat ultimate evil or a gang of thugs, because that is right and it is good
  63. the cello because i cannot play it but love the sound, so one day i will try just to touch it and know what it would be if i could and did
  64. french, for the music of language, and how things once foreign can become known
  65. it is the same with shakespeare, i can be bounded in a nutshell and think myself a king of infinite... but denmark, is a prison...
  66. to the lighthouse- it grabs me that ennui
  67. like proust, who goes on and on, and never quite grasps
  68. archaeology for people who love to examine layers
  69. dinosaurs because they were- it's habitat enrichment for humans
  70. snow, for the way it transforms
  71. empty city streets, jay walking, rollerblading, idly strolling, pondering disaster
  72. the taste of flourless chocolate cake, divine, consuming, rapture
  73. hummingbirds because they are too small and they go too fast, but when they take notice of you the whole world stops
  74. chapstick and lotion, tending to the lips and skin
  75. and gum for when you want to be productive
  76. and meditating when you finally decide to rest and give it up to Him who gave you life
  77. lists, for all that they are in their tyranny and beauty of there it goes one after the other
  78. organization, aesthetic heaven, it's all coming together, the knowing of things
  79. the crunch of kettle chips deafen but can't stop making loud sounds because i have to
  80. like wind chimes, and bucket drums
  81. for the mineral composition of everything in the universe
  82. for people who seek impossible things, in delight and not slavery
  83. for people who make it better and not worse
  84. for carbonation, the fresh bite, the quench ahh
  85. like bandaids and aloe plants that heal and cover and protect
  86. like the solid front door and the substantial mantle
  87. for wood floors that gloss and glide and reassure me
  88. anything bbq, and cravings for longisland iced teas and certain types of martinis
  89. quotable movies and good comedies
  90. finally angels, they must exist, they do, there they are,
  91. for the unexplained feelings of things we know to be true but can't record
  92. what Love must be
  93. what joy signals
  94. the shadow of things to come
  95. the feeling of finished things, of pushing through and accomplishing
  96. the journey because i must
  97. my chair
  98. my blog
  99. the revelation of truth, the shattering of secrets
  100. the voice...


pen said...

epic. and i like the phrasing "the record of God's goodness." even if it is only that - it does deserve recognition.

mendacious said...

look at all those words i used!!!

almost anonymous said...

For someone lamenting a lack of lists (that was not deliberate when I started...), you have an expansive an excellent one.