choosing to see

I devoured One Thousand Gifts about as quickly as anyone can consume soul changing words I suppose.

I happened to have a super awesome hand made leather bound journal that some super awesome man bought me, and went to recording my own one thousand gifts. But it has been a struggle. I wanted it to feel right. To feel genuine. And to be easy. Even the easy “eucharisteo” was not easy for me.

Because I am ungrateful.

If the easy eucharisteo is hard for me, how could the hard eucharisteo even be manageable and when is it going to come and will I be ready?

((I realize you have no idea what I’m talking about if you haven’t read the book. And if you haven’t- what in the world is wrong with you? Read the book.))

I decided that surely with practice, it would come. With practice (and prayer) I would see God’s grace in the crumbs under the table, the screaming baby, and the spilled milk. And so I started to jot things down.

My gifts:

girls in striped tights, space!, God’s grace in a honey-drizzled heart, chocolate eyes, enthusiastic grandparents, warm air, daffodils green…

You know, those beautiful things that anyone could appreciate. I’ve made it to 27 gifts so far. Days go by, and I forget and record nothing. I turn ungrateful and ugly overnight it seems.

I’ve recently gotten into the habit of watching House Hunters or Property Virgins before bed. I DVR old episodes and gawk at people’s wish lists and house budgets. Almost every single episode involves a DINK (Double Income No Kids) couple (and their frickin dog) who are looking for a three bedroom all brick with a large fenced in back yard and a big garage (to put their stuff in) with lots of storage space (for all their stuff) and big kitchens with large pantries (because they  need space for all their food). And they snob houses that I would be so thrilled to live in!

((As an aside, why do they call it their “office” when they don’t work from home? Shouldn’t it just be called “the room that I go into to check my facebook” so that we can realize the absurdity of having an extra room just because?))

I don’t want to sound like I am standing in judgement of these house hunting people. I’m more trying to find a good example of how I am- how all of us are. We are so focused on what we don’t have, what we could have, what we want, that we miss all of this life happening right in front of us. We look without seeing what is really there.

Today I was out with a friend and accompanied her to run an errand. She had gathered some clothes for a family whose house just burned down the other night. They were staying with someone else and as we drove up to their house I felt like I was visiting a third world country. Five miles from my own home. My house with the hard wood floors and the crown molding and the back yard that floods and the rooms that are too small and the tiny coat closet converted into a pantry that explodes with food to feed my family. Dogs chased the van, trash was piled everywhere, and here this family had taken in another family. I watched as my friend listened intently to the woman as she shared the details. She gave her information on where they could get even more free household items and clothing and offered food. She was not there because her church had organized it or anything like that. She was just there because she cared. She was there to serve. People who have the love of Jesus in their heart do that sort of thing, and I’m only just now beginning to learn to do it.

I had been gone all morning. I came home to a messy house and my heart wanted to complain. WAAAAAAH! Where is my maid? Where is my nanny?

But I saw a glimpses of grace. Crumbs on the floor- we have food! Toys everywhere- I have four wonderful blessings! And oh-my-gosh I have doors hanging in the door frames and a husband who loves me and my kids are healthy and energetic and we have everything we need and then some. And why can’t that ever be enough?

I have to choose to see. I have to be purposeful. Hunt out the things to be thankful for, even though they are right in front of me, plain as day.

Today, I choose to see. What do you see today?