Thanksgiving reminds me to point my thoughts toward the practice of giving thanks. Eucharisteo. This idea that Jesus had this tendency to give thanks prior to asking The Father for something. In her fine book, 1,000 Gifts, Ann Voskamp shares her story of an early life heartbreaking loss and how she went about the next couple of decades going through the motions of faith, but holding herself back, not really trusting this God she’d had decided was not trustworthy. Eventually, she leans into her faith, deciding God may be worth trusting afterall, and she throws herself headfirst into this gratitude experiment.
I took that ride along with her as I read the book, dutifully making my list of things to be thankful for: my exquisite, blue-eyed fairy daughter, the way sunlight beams in and makes rainbows just when I need to be reminded of my beautiful friend Laura who left this world way too soon, the nicest Malbec with a new friend, a Steelers last minute win, the way missing someone lets you know your heart still works, perfect black heels, feeling cozy and safe, laughing until I cry, not getting a parking ticket even though I totally deserve one, my pregnant friend’s pregnant lady glow, my hair growing back fuller and better than I ever thought it would.
Yo, I don’t have cancer right now. (Or maybe ever again.) How about that.
When I’m cranky and frowning and sniffing the air and crossing my arms and frustrated and disappointed…I think of Ann. And I think of Jesus. And I am reminded to give thanks. Not just because that’s the example we have – but because this practice…this eucharisteo…it is a powerful force, infusing us with life and love. It fights against fear. It fights against apathy. It helps you to decide not to give in to bitterness. It keeps your heart soft and ready for whatever is next.