Monday, January 14, 2013

A Seemingly Insignificant Ritual

This past week God has brought Ann Voskamp and her book, One Thousand Gifts to me at least three times.  When this happens I pay attention, because I know The Holy Spirit is trying to tell me something important.  So I went over to the bookcase and took out Ann's book, opening its pages for the second time.

You see, I had tried to read it a couple months ago and found the first pages so painful that I tucked it up on my shelf for another time. In fact, because I try to always write with transparency, I will tell you that I thought about giving the book to someone else and not reading it at all.  Too many years of illness and suffering kept me from wanting to read about her sadness too, and I did not feel I had the strength at that time to walk through the sadness to get to the joy!

God had other plans for me though, and as I heard a friend mention One Thousand Gifts, as I read about it on the blog (In)Courage, and as a Facebook friend shared her own journey with Ann's book, I knew it was meant to be.  God had something to teach me through this book.  It was confirmed when my dear husband of 44 years told me he felt I had been living lately with a spirit of discontentment.  Ahhhh....there is was. 

Yes, there it was.......the need to go back and find that peace, that feeling of contentment in each day, through each day no matter what it brought or did not bring.  In the past I had kept a gratitude journal, but what Ann does is more than that.  It is deeper....... living.......breathing....

I understood this when Saturday night came and I was in the kitchen making coconut whipping cream.  This is usually my husband Joel's job while I make our Saturday pancakes and we listen to Garrison Keillor on the radio. Listening to the radio and making pancakes has been a part of our life for probably 30 years now, the coconut whipping cream only joined the Saturday night ritual this past year but was quickly welcomed.  Joel makes the cream, we add maple syrup and vanilla and taste test it to see if it is just right.  We then each take a beater and lick off the excess cream.......such a small seemingly insignificant ritual, but meaningful in so many ways. 

This past Saturday Joel was not home, so I made the cream and I felt almost off balance that he was not there to share in this weekly dance.  I quickly bowed my head and gave thanks.  For a husband who has been there for so many years to share with me our rituals, our traditions, our adventures, our struggles, our faith. A loving husband who has been there to share in a small ritual of licking a beater coated in whipping cream.  Yes, I am blessed.

I am linking up with Ann over at her blog, A Holy Experience.  I look forward to all the wonderful ways God will open my eyes on being grateful and content on this journey called life.  Thank you Ann for changing the world with your pen. 


Alicia said...

Oh, that first chapter is SO HARD to read.. but maybe that's what makes the ending so RICH and SWEET... the beauty from pain and the blessing in the midst of the muck. Visiting you from Ann's today- glad to find you here. Keep counting.

Kim Fernando said...

Oh my goodness, Renee... I have to tell you everything about this post nearly brought me to tears. I love that you admit that you almost gave the book away, I love that you admit to a spirit of discontent, and I love the image of you and Joel making whipping cream together on Saturday nights. I relate to so much of what you share (the abuse, the PTSD, the spirit of discontent) but have been reluctant to share it with anyone on my own blog because of how ugly it might sound. But your love for God still shines through as you share these things, and I admire that so much about you. I also hope my husband and I can have the kind of marriage you and Joel do someday! Just imagining how great it must be to whip cream every Saturday night is so fun. God bless and I hope Ann's book brings lots of blessings.