Thursday, June 02, 2016

Thankful Thursday - "Don't Miss It"

When storms blow through,
when thunder rolls and lightning flashes
it's easy to miss the beauty of the clouds,
it's easy to overlook the reprieve from the heat and humidity.

When storms blow through my family,
my faith, my home, and my heart,
it's easy to miss the beauty of quiet evenings,
it's easy to overlook the gift of a shared meal eaten in peace.

A dear friend brought dinner for us tonight, and we spent a few minutes talking before she headed home to her own family. She is the one who gave me this phrase - "Don't miss it."

After the storm we have weathered over the past three months, I find myself walking through my life with my shoulders tensed and raised, with my ears piqued to hear every step and movement in the house, with my heart rate increasing every time my mind forms the question, "What if..."
What if it happens again?
What if things don't get better?

She listened to me describe how my heart ached.
She didn't turn away when I cried.
She welcomed my lament along with my joy.
She asked if I could hear what she heard.
She asked if I could see what she saw in my story.
She said, "Don't miss it. Don't miss the beauty in the midst of the pain."
To her admonition, I add my own: "Don't miss it. Give thanks."

Tonight I am thankful for -

The laughter we share over silly things
The morning walks
The evening drives
Finding all but one thing we needed at Target and CVS on sale today

The games we play - dominoes and Canasta
The adult coloring pages we have filled
The trip to the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

Holding hands while tears flow
Salt scrubs on our tired hands
Coconut oil on our dry skin
Sun hats and sunscreen

Ceiling fans on hot days
Ice water
Insulated thermoses that keep ice water cold

Watermelon and blueberries and pineapple
Greek yogurt
Cheese from Spain

Watching Golden State Warriors games as a family
Watching Serena Williams win matches at the French Open
Law and Order marathons on lazy days

The chipmunk that eats the bird seed out of the dish on our deck
The hawk that keeps showing up while I'm out walking the dog
Rainy afternoons

Newly paved roads
Freshly cut grass
Magnolias in bloom - that scent

Four or five weeks ago, I went out for a walk/jog. As I ran up the last hill, huffing and puffing, I passed an African-American woman who was pushing a child in a stroller. I assumed she was African-American because of the color of her skin. I hadn't seen her in the neighborhood before, so as I jogged past, I waved at her. About fifteen steps later, I stopped, pulled my earphones off my ears, and walked back to her. I introduced myself - she is not African-American. She is Jamaican - it has been far too long since I have heard that songlike accent.

Since the day we met, she and I have gone for walks together. Texted. Laughed. Told stories. Sadly, I wished her farewell two nights ago - turns out she was here in Charlotte as a live-in nanny for only four months - and her time here ended yesterday. We both wished that we had met when she arrived in February. What a beautiful, strong, funny, generous, kind, hospitable, courageous woman. I will miss her.

It was easy to jog past her and wave that day. I was listening to my favorite "end of exercise" song. I was in my exercise groove. But something told me, weeks before my friend articulated it so succinctly this evening, "Don't miss it, Gail. Don't miss this chance to meet someone new in your neighborhood."

Tonight I am thankful for the words of encouragement we give and receive from friends and family and even strangers (like the cashier at Trader Joe's today)
The set of Bible verses on the tiny easel that I received in the mail today (Perfect, SC!)
Having a friend of my son mention the very Bible verse my daughter and I were talking about earlier today (Romans 8:18 - I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.)

I am thankful for the wonder, the miracle,
the afflictions and fragility of life
How short it is
How long it is
How joyful it is
How sorrowful it is
How pleasurable
How painful

How blistering
How demanding
How delightful
How beautiful

Don't miss it.

Thank you, M, for that reminder and challenge.
Thank you for the gift of your friendship.
Thanks be to God.

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