What a week it’s been. I’m writing this after just returning from “Cousin’s Camp” with my parents, my brothers, sisters-in-law and my boys’ five cousins. We rented a house in the mountains and had the sweetest time, with a few massive tantrums (my child) and a couple of poopy pairs of underwear (my child) laced in there for extra fun.
Then I returned to the world of internet to find that my friend Lance is still in the same condition. (For more information on how to pray for him and his family, click here.) And then, I received an email from a dear friend in San Francisco who has just learned she has cancer. It’s severe and she starts intense treatment tomorrow. She has three children.
I’m reading One Thousand Gifts (by Ann Voskamp), which I’m pretty sure is going to change my life. I’m serious. If you don’t buy it right now, I’ll remind you over and over and you’ll finally give in because I won’t stop talking about it from here on out, okay? This is what I read today that’s been ringing in my ears all night:
I know there is poor and hideous suffering, and I’ve seen the hungry and the guns that go to war. I have lived pain, and my life can tell: I only deepen the wound of the world when I neglect to give thanks for early light dappled through leaves and the heavy perfume of wild roses in early July and the song of crickets on humid nights and the rivers that run and the stars that rise and the rain that falls and all the good things that a good God gives … Rejecting joy to stand in solidarity with the suffering doesn’t rescue the suffering. The converse does. The brave who focus on all things good and all things beautiful and all things true, even in the small, who give thanks for and discover joy even in the here and now, they are the change agents who bring fullest Light to all the world (58).
That’s why in spite of the tears that have been shed on the couch in my parent’s living room tonight and the wadded up klennex beside me, I’m going to show you this and say: Look at how beautiful this world is!
I’m thankful for:
- Bestie cousins in matching “Cousin’s Camp” shirts (Seriously, your family really made t-shirts for Cousin’s Camp? Yes. We’re that family. Except they’re well designed because they were designed by this guy.) eating ice cream together and sharing in the kind of bliss that only 3- and 4-year-olds can have while eating ice cream.
- The way my family all cared for me and took turns watching/snuggling/playing with my kids while I was there without my husband.
- My dad and brother who gave up two hours to drive to the nearest pharmacy (45 minutes away) when I got a fever and infection Friday night.
- Laughing late at night with my brothers about the same exact memories we always laugh about. I never laugh harder than when I’m in the same room with both of my brothers at the same time.
- I’ve been an aunt for 11 years and I love my nieces and nephews dearly. How can I say thanks for the chance to see them dancing to Lemonade Mouth, collecting rocks, writing a cheesy song that they performed, inviting me to help write said cheesy song, and faithfully playing with both my boys-their littlest cousins?
- Watching the stars at night with the grown ups: My father points out what he thinks is the US Space Station. My brother asks: “But I guess it could be the Russians.” And my dad, a man whose brain is crammed full of a laughable amount of knowledge, says in all seriousness: “No, because the Russians don’t travel that direction.” Oh, of course you know that the Russian Space Station orbits North to South.
- Sunday night, my brothers and I actually performed a skit for the family. (It was spur of the moment. But, yes, we are that family, too.)
My heart is heavy today, but what a wonder it is to remember God in the beauty…
P.S. My grandmother is 90 years old today! Happy Thankful Birthday, Deenie!