Ch. 3: First Flight

Excerpts: Listing the gifts as you encounter them is akin to receiving them. Starting a list seems trivial, especially compared to what Jesus gave thanks for. But the “full of grace vocabulary begins haltingly, simply, like a child, thankful for the childlike.” You have to learn eucharisteo. Learn it to live fully. Learn how to be grateful and happy, whether hands full or hands empty. If you want to change the world, pick up your pen. –Martin Luther. There are eyes in pencils and in pens. –John Piper. “I hold the pen. The cataracts clear.” A nail is driven out by another nail; habit is overcome by habit. –Erasmus My pen is nothing less than the driving of nails. Nails driving out my habits of discontent and driving in my habit of eucharisteo. Naming a gift offers it recognition. Naming is Edenic. Biblically, to name a thing manifests the meaning and value God gave it. God is in the details; God is in the moment. But some days it’s hard to coax thanks. It seems contrived. It’s so frustratingly common–it’s offensive. Driving nails into a life always is. Practice thanks; practice is the hardest part of learning. The first secret step into eucharisteo is gratitude for the seemingly insignificant. If I miss the infinitesimals, I miss the whole. Daniel in the Bible prayed three times a day, giving thanks to God. Prayer first speaks thanks. The only way to be a woman of prayer is to be a woman of thanks. Life change comes when we receive life with thanks.

This makes sense–practice becomes habit. Drill becomes second nature. Anything that’s truly going to change me, from the inside out, lasting change, is going to take some work. In practicing eucharisteo (thanksgiving), I will learn how to give thanks in all circumstances. I will become a person of joy and gratitude. I appreciated the analogy of giving thanks, particularly for the insignificant or when it feels contrived, as similar to driving in nails. It’s hard work. And it can hurt. I also took to heart the exhortations to write–not just as it pertains to delineating gratitude, but also to my other ambitions to write things I believe God has put on my heart.

I have started my list of graces. I’ve already found 200!