blissfully twenty

June 2, 2011 at 7:46 pm Leave a comment

My feet are complaining: they don’t like heels. They wish that I had spent the day with no shoes on, wading in a cool lake and having a picnic lunch with four dear girlfriends like I did yesterday.

Come to think of it, the rest of my body isn’t too happy about the outfit I wore to work today either. Heels, it turns out, are not conducive to driving a car or walking several blocks to the train station. And pencil skirts are certainly not conducive to that two-and-a-half foot jump from the station into the actual train.

But it’s funny how you can ignore your body’s protests when you like the actual outfit. (Okay, when you know you look really cute.)

I’m two weeks into my part-time internship, and although I despise getting up at 6 a.m. on those days – I really am enjoying it. A friend asked if I felt like a “big girl” now that I had a job, in The City, and commuted. I said it depends on one’s definition of big – but I feel blissfully twenty.

I’m old enough to wear professional clothes, to take the train, to work in the city, yet still young enough to be charmed by it all. I love the early morning light glinting off of the miles-high office buildings and the way the metal security bars in front of the elevator bank drop humbly when I flash my access card. I’m afraid I still think it all very glamorous, even if I did spend all morning stuffing envelopes and mailing promotional copies of books. But someone had to do it, right? And let me tell you – I was way faster than the secretary next to me. Way.

Though to be fair, she probably didn’t know that I was timing both of us. And I’m sure the novelty of packing so many books wore off a really long time ago for her.

But still. I was so faster.

Anyways, I’m finally reading One Thousand Gifts – and oh, the press on that book was right (or at least, as far as I can tell from the first two chapters). It is beautiful. And possibly life-changing. A book on the daily practice of eucharisteo, the seeing grace and giving thanks and recognizing joy in everything.  The insultingly small and commonplace things, like summer breezes or perfectly ripe mangos or the smell of a new book – that become our daily habit and prepare us to continue to live the grateful life God commands, even when all seems to go wrong.

But it’s not just a cheery Pollyanna book: Ann wrestles with it, with the ordinariness of these small beginnings, and the pain that comes with opening your heart to joy, and what do we call the moments we aren’t thankful for, and what do we do with a good God when all the world seems to be bad? How do we reconcile all this?

Question I’m grappling with as well.

But the book has reminded me to be thankful in the small things, to open my eyes and see the gifts. And the gifts have been flooding my heart this week, made even more obvious by my birthday and the extraordinary things people did to make me feel special. I count the facebook notes and texts extraordinary and special; the way my friends brought me roses and surprised me and wrapped me in hugs; my sister making the long train commute down to the city just to spend my lunch hour with me. The delight of seeing far-away friends, the delightfully aching muscles after a long and amazingly productive dance rehearsal. Singing with the windows of my car down and the breeze rushing in. A letter in the mail. Four quarters left on the bathroom countertop this morning, because my sister wanted to make sure I’d have enough for parking at the train station – and knew I’d probably forget and be stuck. The sheer beauty of water, lakes and fountains and pools and oceans.

And that’s just a start.

My brain is too tired to wrestle with the other side of it, with the where is God when it hurts? that I’ve been asking for the last long while. I ask that question on my own behalf, on the behalf of others – and can only sometimes grasp the answer, like a distant strain of music. Well, I know the answer is right here. What I mean is, sometimes I don’t believe it and I never quite understand it, understand the mystery of showers of blessings requiring storms, understand how God can so powerfully bless and use the brokenness, that He would have never allowed it if He couldn’t. But it’s still hard and I still don’t understand.

But I don’t have to. And for right now, for once, I’m content not to. Just to sit and listen to the birds chirping through the windows is enough, in this rarely-empty house – that is enough. And maybe I’ll go outside to water the flowers and think about how life only comes through raindrops. Or maybe I’ll just admire the pink. Or get irritated at the bugs. Or go take a nap.

And I’m going to end with a picture, because my blog is so light on pictures these days. (Well, always, I guess). It’s from our enchanting picnic yesterday, and I did what I always do, which is pack my cute camera and then leave it to the real photographers to actually bother taking the pictures. I just pose. Photo credit here goes to Jessina.

 

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Entry filed under: adventures & misadventures, beauty, books.

twenty to be known is to be loved, and to be loved is to be known

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