I drink tea from a cup called “blessed” and I wonder at the word. My husband picked it out at the store. “It’s perfect,” he said. We added another named “thankful” to the cart.
I tend to drink from the thankful mug more. Thankful is easier to swallow. I AM thankful, but blessed? I wonder at that. Am I blessed, or am I reaching for straws again, Straws – pliable strands of hope and a longing to belong. A longing to have place and purpose in this life.
I see the beauty in the every day: A honeybee visiting me. Today. Can you believe that? Yet, I long for the majestic. Maybe the great Red Rock Canyon of Arizona, with it’s eternal sky. Out there, I feel small. Out there, I know I’m in the presence of magic and divinity, but here, on this hill by the river, where the dishes and the laundry and the little girl wait – I struggle sometimes to see the Divine in it all.
The bee is back. I’ve gone to get a saucer of sugar water for him. The flowers all succumbed to the recent heavy frost and snow. I wonder if he’ll drink? Can he trust me? This human thing sitting here in bare feet? What brought him here? Do bees have a sense of smell? Is it my chai tea steaming in the blessed mug?
In my observations of the bee, I nearly forget the pie. I run to the kitchen, filled to the ceiling with the scent of cloves and nutmeg. I pull the pie from the oven. It’s perfectly imperfect with the crust drooping just slightly on one side. I smile in spite of myself.
Pumpkin pie is a miracle, isn’t it? We take a bit of pureed pumpkin, some sugar, eggs from a hen and other things and we mix it and bake it into a dessert. The end of a delicious meal is reserved for the sweetness of this rather strange mixture of things. It’s nothing short of a miracle.
A few things I’m grateful for today:
I just wonder whether I’m worthy of all this counting of blessings. I rush through my life. I’m short with my daughter over a pointless graph for a math lesson. I rush her through precious moments of her life and mine.
And another day passes. Another twenty-four hours of this one and only life. Her one and only childhood.
Eighteen summers. That’s all of the childhood I have with her and she’ll grow to be her own woman. I’ll be older. My life, shorter. This rings even more true to me with her, than it did when I was raising my sons, because my sons are now grown. When I say time flies, it’s not just a cliche statement to be made in passing. It’s real and raw. Times flies and the next thing you know, your children move out and move on…without you.
I don’t want to wait for tomorrow, or a vacation, or a trip out of the country to see the splendor of this life. I want to enjoy it now, but how do we savor the moments of every day life? How do we find the gift in so much loss? The loss of a child or a grand child? The loss of a friendship that has grown apart. The loss that happens when we feel rejected or abandoned. Where’s the gift in that and how do we pause to give thanks in those moments without denying how we feel inside?
Am I being too idealistic with all of this? Am I putting too much on my shoulders. I could easily just put all of this aside, go to church, sing some songs, and go on about my life with a smile plastered on my face in public. The thing is, I’ve already done all of that. I’ve met the status quo of existing and I’m ready to really live and I’m ready to thrive.
Let me be like Maude in Harold and Maude. She LIVED. She LOVED. She noticed the gloriousness of the common sea gull. She “had a way with people.” I want to be like her. I want to be like St. Francis of Assisi, who loved the little birds. I want to be like Jesus, who said of the little children, “Let them come to me.” I want that. I want to slow down, take notice, and give thanks for every damn breath I take in this life.
Because what else is there?