This past month I have been reading Ann Voskamp’s book: “A Thousand Gifts“. I got the book as a gift from one of my mentors in 2013. She told me she knows I will love the poetic prose and it’s indeed a beautiful book written in mind captivating language. Yet I must say the book has enriched me beyond just the beautiful language and imagery.
Firstly, it took me this long to read the book because when I first scanned through the pages years back, I thought there was nothing there for me to identify with. I was caught up in the humdrum of life and I wanted an easy, fast read to match the busyness of the time.
I have since slowed my life down dramatically and it was natural that the book lured me again as I was unpacking boxes and setting up the book shelf. I started reading from the middle (as i sometimes do) and in getting to the meat of the book’s message of Eucharisteo/Thanskgiving in the everyday, I was able to go back and start at the beginning.
As I re-read and closed the final pages, I found that I too, like Voskamp who was dared to find a 1000 things to be thankful for, the same spirit has caught up with me. I now experience joy in the smallest and often taken for granted everyday things and may I add especially things that I dreaded doing like house chores.
I now see them with new eyes and a tender heart. I am thankful for being awakened by a sound of garden birds in the morning, clean air, driving my children to school, laundry and cooking dinners. I know some of you have been doing this with ease, but to some of us it doesn’t come that easy and we would rather avoid and outsource as much of it as it is possible.
That’s why it comes as a shock to me that I am actually doing okay with this. It is still the same repetitive, unending list of stuff but my heart now sees this as an opportunity to serve my family, each one individually. It is me making their lives easier and comfortable. I don’t do it for them, I do it as part of thanksgiving to God. I expect nothing in return; I draw inner joy seeing them living their best lives. Of course, Voskamp tells this story better in her book.
I am convinced that the path to peace and love in our communities and countries, starts with planting the seeds of serving in our own homes and personal spaces. It gives meaning to the saying: “charity starts at home”. So as we seek to build and contribute to the building of communities, companies and nations, we understand that it is not an easy task and its practice entails a change of mind and heart about seemingly mundane things.
As for me, I am a new and enthusiastic student of practicing thanksgiving and reaping the rewards of joy and peace. I hope you find the same.