I haven't written on this in a long time (okay a week, but that's like decades in internet-speak, no?), because I've felt very busy and rather uninspired and generally BLEEEEHHHH and, quite honestly, it's been very difficult to summon up the energy for thankfulness and optimism.
Is that kind of embarrassing?
That I have a beautiful apartment, a refrigerator full of farmers-market purchases, a closet of clothes, a wealth of the most brilliant, funny, good-looking friends a girl could ever want, PLUS a goldfish...and it is difficult to summon up the energy for thankfulness and optimism?
I make myself sick.
I'm sure I make yourself sick.
Lately, I wake up, and think of everything I must do, everything that is difficult:
my lack of direction
my lack of sleep
my lack of raspberries
the fact that 3-year-old Meadow in my ballet class at 4:30 is trying to ruin my life
my fish is already sick
Megan is far away
there are emails to write and calls to make and lesson plans to study, dishes to wash and blogs about thankfulness to write
Not to mention things I WANT to do but don't have time for: study French, do yoga, listen to a Phyllis Tickle lecture online, light candles and chant in Aramaic, take pictures around my neighborhood, read about organic farming, clean my bathroom, take a walk to the beach and fall asleep on the sand while listening to the Appalachian Picking Society, go explore a new place.
Instead I scurry around the apartment so I can leave by 5:20, fatigued and overwhelmed and always forgetting something. By the time I am back at my apartment, it is 9:15 and I am exhausted. I make Swiss chard frittata, pour myself a glass of wine if I'm feeling so inclined (and I usually am), then rush back into sleep. A cupcake is often involved.
Sometimes I feel resentful toward this blog, because during my days that feel particularly heavy, tired, busy, or just miserable, I think "Ugh, I have to come up with three moments of grace." I'm serious, this is what I think. This is why you should all publicly stone me in the town square.
And yet, they always come to me. Always. I never have to seek them out--they are just there. And I usually have more than three, shockingly enough. The days I don't write, they're still there--sometimes recognized, sometimes recognized a few days or even weeks later, and sometimes they go completely unrecognized, because I'm too involved in my own version of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day.
This is by no means the first time in my life I have felt this way, and it will by no means be the last. And I can feel thankful for the times I have been in a funk before, because I've seen what works, and what helps, and the tiny remedies I can whip up to help me remember that the world is not going to explode just because I want to go back to sleep.
the earthy rich flavor of Swiss chard
my morning commute with all its silence and pink light
my little green table, suitable for peaches in the morning
my outfit that makes me feel like I should be stomping grapes in Naples in 1948
the immediate comfort of Earl Grey tea
the smell of incense before I fall asleep
I also really must start carving out more time to make pancakes.
The stunning thing is, is that the things that get me through are the small, lovely things that spangle the day with pockets of joy and peace--peace that surpasses understanding. I have come to rely on these things, in all times of life, to gently push me forward and remind me that the world is flooded with grace, that God supplies and refreshes the world at every moment with goodness.
Today I am panicking about what time I have to leave for work, the things I have to finish before I can head off for the day, leaving the comfort of my coffee shop and my apartment to the stressful and oft-cruel world of preschool dance classes.
But there has already been an iced soy latte (with an extra shot, which made all the difference) made by a beautiful Russian woman who was especially gracious, there has been an email from Nate which was signed "Peace to you Mari," some sort of Eastern European composer whose elegant music is being offered to my grateful ears by a small speaker above my head, peaches with Greek yogurt and Michigan honey and homemade granola at once so familiar and so exotic with all its imported spices, and there has been a haphazard stumblance upon my very favorite quote of all time: All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well (Julian of Norwich).
I have no obligation to you to write. What do you care? But what I am trying to do is condition myself toward observing grace, to surrounding myself in it--to recognize that God's desire for my joy in His world is demonstrated ubiquitously...in so many moments throughout the day that they could not be contained by a blog alone.