heart work

while sitting in church on sunday morning, i played a game with myself to try to get the pit in my stomach to settle down. i had already cried through our pastor’s prayer for a family who lost their 19 year old daughter in a car accident on saturday, and i was driven to distraction by the fact that at the end of the service, an announcement would be made regarding a family that i love dearly who would be soon leaving our church to go and work at another church in another town. far away from here. actually i think it is another country.

this “game” is one that i’ve mentioned before that we have to play around our house a lot. it’s called “for what are you grateful today?” this may sound like a trite way to band-aid a bad mood, but i believe with all my heart that gratefulness, particularly gratefulness to God, is the antidote to despair. so, while harold was preaching, and i’m pretty sure i need to listen to the sermon online since i was slightly less than present, i made my list.

1. long skirts and dresses. i can actually be comfortable, not shave my legs and not look like a total slob all at the same time.

2. a good haircut. now i can’t talk about who cuts and colors my hair because that would make me sad again, but i have a great haircut, the advantages of which include not having to wash or fix my hair for days and its still looking passable. this opinion, of course, is subjective, but never the less, it goes along with not having to put forth too much effort to be presentable which ranks extremely high on my list of things for which to be grateful.

3. the river market…you knew it was coming. i tell you, it was the bright spot in my weekend. gobs of corn, arugula for days, a gallon bucket of blackberries and piles of vegetables, most of which i chopped and roasted yesterday to put in my orzo pasta. and i’ve finally found whole wheat orzo at amazon, yet another thing for which to be grateful. ooh and my oven, which can roast 4 pans of vegetables at one time…i love that thing. it’s the details that make me happy.

4. movie therapy. i watched two movies over the weekend that i loved. miss potter and the painted veil. i could write an entire post on the painted veil, but i can’t do it without ruining the ending. i feel that this movie will certainly be my favorite of 2007. both stories were so beautiful. one about a writer and one from a book that was well-written, so the characters had the sort of depth and richness that can only come from being based on great writing. as i thought about both movies during the church service sunday, i wrote in my journal, “i am meditating upon the truth that it is bettter to live in the middle of something wonderful for a short time than to have a whole lifetime of the unexceptional. so live fully while i live—love with abandon, especially my husband–my marriage is a such a precious gift–if i neglect it, Lord, let me be sent to the middle of a cholera epidemic.”

5. book club. i’m reading a book right now for book club that i would never have picked up on my own. it is gripping…in a way that keeps me up at night reading. one more chapter and then off to bed… i can’t say what i think about it yet, b/c i’m not done, but i will be by friday at 7. hopefully.

and that pretty much sums up where i am this morning…hopefully. hopefully, the sad events of last week will fade from being so so sad at some point. but today i’m holding on to little weensy things that make me smile or even just distract me in the midst of mourning, which it is the time for. tomorrow there will be a very sad funeral at my church, after which i will come home and have some whole wheat orzo. it won’t fix the sadness, but hopefully a little whole grain and vegetables will remind me that God provides, even in the details.


  1. Ooo, Alison…amen. This is a fantastic game to play. Today I have been short on rest, patience, time, and focus. But here’s my list just for today, details and slices of the Lord’s provision: a roommate who shares her lunch when I didn’t have time to make my own; knowing just enough italian to talk my way into a museum to sketch a statue one more time before they close; kids coming up and watching me draw; an evening bus that dumps me practically at my front door.

  2. That is a great game – and I want to play too (I may even copy and post this myself!) Today I am grateful for friends who listen and don’t think you are crazy for having emotions. I am grateful for little boys in UnderRoos with Light Sabers. I am grateful for iTunes and the ability to download the perfect song no matter what time of day it is and I am grateful for the rain, because it makes me sit still and take stock.

  3. Much better than the games I’ve been playing, which include:

    Sulk and Stare from My Corner of the Couch
    If I’m Sarcastic I Won’t Cry
    I’m Not Melodramatic, I’m Just Sensitive

    Good thing for me they all have travel versions, since I’m off to Branson tomorrow! I know you’re jealous…

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