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Practising Thankfulness

Ann Voskamp on writing a thankfulness list:  "They are just the common things and maybe I don't even know they are gifts really until I write them down....  This writing it down -- it is sort of like...unwrapping love."

Monday:  Back on the weekend of January 16 and 17 when the churches were burnt, John traveled north to our village that Friday afternoon.  On Saturday morning when he got up, he had a flat tire.  So he went to change the tire and discovered that his spare was also flat (we had recently had it fixed, so I'm not sure how that happened).  The tire repair guy up there told him there was no place in town to fix tubeless tires.  So John called me and I was going to go out to buy him two new tires to send up on a bush taxi.  But just as I was heading out the rioting started, so I went back home.  Later in the day a M*sl*m friend bought us two tires and got them sent up to John.  Of course, after all that he found out that there was a place in the town that could fix them.  So today I'm thankful once again for keeping us all safe and a new tire and three spares (one of them brand new!)

Tuesday:  These boxes of supplies for Galmi Hospital in the case of an Ebola outbreak have not been needed.  I'm thankful for that!

"The list, it feels foreign, strange.  Long, I am woman who speaks but one language, the language of the fall--discontentment and self-condemnation, the critical eye and the never satisfied.
....Well, if all these were gifts that God gives--then wasn't my writing down the list like...receiving?  Like taking with thanks.
--Ann Voskamp

Wednesday:  KS and E were missionaries here in Niger for around 10 years.  I took them around town for a tour of some of our ministries in Niamey.  Here they are meeting a Christian leader who had been one of their little neighbor boys.  What a reunion!  A little bit of heaven, don't you think?  I can just see the reunions with people we haven't seen in ages.  And the stories we'll hear of "Remember when you let me work for you to earn money to buy a Bible?  Remember how you helped me with family needs?  Remember how you taught me about God's love and faithfulness? I'm thankful for reunions and encouragement and a little taste of heaven in joyful hugs.

Thursday:  Wednesday was actually my dad's birthday.  Here's an old picture from the archives.  I've always been a daddy's girl and am so thankful for a dad that I respect and who I still go to for advice.

"Practiced [thankfulness] until it became the second nature, the first skin.  Practice is the hardest part of learning, and training is the essence of transformation. Practice, practice, practice."
--Ann Voskamp

Friday:  A year ago our roof was replaced on our apartment.  The metal from the roof was still mostly good and so it was suggested we use it to cover our terrace.  It's a bit complicated, but the project had to be approved and the process took time.  But I'm thankful that this week the workers showed up and have gotten it done in no time at all!  There is still a 2nd section to do but that shouldn't take long at all.  This will give a little more shade to the house and keep the sun off the front part of it.  

Saturday:  I'm thankful for delicious fresh vegetables that are in season right now.  On Saturday I put up green beans and cauliflower.  It will be nice when the fresh veggies are in scarce supply to just pull out a packet of frozen veggies.

Sunday:  I'm thankful for a shaded terrace to have some quiet time with Jesus this afternoon.

"Joy is the realest reality, the fullest life, and joy is always given, never grasped.  God gives gifts and I give thanks and I unwrap the gift given:  joy.

"It is true I never want to stop learning the hard eucharisteo for the deathbeds and the dark skies and the prodigal sons.  But I accept this [thankfulness for small things]is the way to begin, and all hard things come in due time and with practice....  Gratitude for the seemingly insignificant--a seed--this plants the giant miracle....  Do not disdain the small.  The whole of the life--even the hard--is made up of  the minute parts, and if I miss the infinitesimals, I miss the whole....  It is this:  to give thanks in this one small thing.  The moments will add up."
--Ann Voskamp


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