It’s been a week. Erick contracted strep throat on Monday, but we didn’t find out until Wednesday, and he has spent the most miserable 5 days of his life in bed. It’s been a sick-house. We’ve all been cooped up; not wanting to leave daddy’s side for too long or subject others to what we could possibly be carrying. And at the beginning, the weather was still dreary; it was another one of those blah week-beginnings.
I received a book in the mail though; I’m a little late to jump on the bandwagon, but I’m so glad I did. It really did change my perspective about this week; I flew through it; that’s what I’d recommend; flying through it, then going back to underline, dog-ear, and savor.
It’s message, in a very small nutshell, is to practice Eucharisteo; Grace, Thanksgiving, Joy. Looking for God’s gifts, daily. Living your life in Thanksgiving, experiencing that lasting Joy that yes…we CAN experience, without end.
Ann’s written language is beautiful; it’s poetry, but without being too fussy. Just gorgeous and very readable. And it’s her story. It’s her revelations; she’s not preachy at all. She never says this is what you should do, this is what you should believe. But you find yourself wanting what she has, regardless. Wanting to put into practice Eucharisteo.
If you don’t mind, I’d love to share a couple of excerpts; one which is a quote that she included; the other her own writing. The first is from Caussade:
You would be very ashamed if you knew what the experiences you call setbacks, upheavals, pointless disturbances, and tedious annoyances really are. You would realize that your complaints about them are nothing more nor less than blasphemies-though that never occurs to you. Nothing happens to you except by the will of God , and yet God’s beloved children curse it because they do not know it for what it is.
I think I would insert that it isn’t only the small annoyances; it’s the big things too. I’ve seen it happen in my life. God *can* work beauty through the ugly.
And I love this, from Ann herself;
In this wilderness, I keep circling back to this; I’m blind to joy’s well every time I really don’t want it. The well is always there. And I choose not to see it. Don’t I really want joy? Don’t I really want the fullest life? For all my yearning for joy, longing for joy, begging for joy-is the bald truth that I prefer the empty dark? Prefer drama? Why do I lunge for control instead of joy? Is it somehow more perversely satisfying to flex control’s muscle? Ah-power– like Satan. Do I think Jesus-grace too impotent to give me the full life? Isn’t that the only reason I don’t always swill the joy? If the startling truth is that I don’t really want joy, there’s a far worse truth. If I am rejecting the joy that is hidden somewhere deep in this moment-am I not ultimately rejecting God? Whenever I am blind to joy’s well, isn’t it because I don’t believe in God’s care? That God cares enough about me to always offer me joy’s water, wherever I am, regardless of circumstance. But if I don’t believe God cares, if I don’t want or seek the joy He definitely offers somewhere in this moment-I don’t want God.
In his presence is fullness of joy. He is in this moment.
The well is always here. God is always here-precisely because He does care.
It’s hard to comprehend sometimes; that everything that happens we should be thankful for; we should look for the good in. That God ALWAYS has our best in mind. Those two quotes are just the very tip of the iceberg when it comes to the truths offered up in this book. I just handed off the book to my mom, but she has one on the way as well; if you are local and want to borrow it in a day or two, I’d be happy to pass it along. But I want it back. 🙂 I can’t wait to read it again.
After the first few chapters, I started looking for the blessings. Honestly, I’m by my very nature a pretty optimistic person. It’s not hard for me to find the good in things, especially because I’ve been through a few rough circumstances and have seen the glory God has worked through them. But nearing winter’s end, with sickness surrounding, with gray skies and stir crazy kids, life can wear a bit. I grabbed my mom’s camera the other day though and (in horrible lighting conditions) snapped a few pictures of the blessings. Boys using their imaginations, playing pirates and captains and searching for treasure and fighting evil men; in Ryan’s words, “I’ll defeat them with my toots!”
On my way between the houses one day, I even saw the blessings in the weather. The hope, the nearing winter’s end.
Right now I’m watching my almost-well husband playing with the kids; and I’m thankful that he was sick. Thankful that even though he felt horrible, he was forced to rest for an entire week. Something that he desperately needed to do. God knew he needed it as well, so case-in-point of realizing that God can use the seemingly bad; for good.