One Thousand Gifts: Ann Voskamp

New Life

In the slump of February I always get lost and muddled.  Somehow Valentine’s day has never meant all that much to me, even after falling madly in love with my husband.  It certainly isn’t enough to pull me out of the gloom and despair of long, dark, cold days.  Really there is no cure for the despair except for, as Kierkegard said, to have faith and believe that with God all things really are possible.  Even here.  Even now.  What I want is sunlight and this is no accident.  God made the sun to call out my heart – to warm my skin and to draw me to himself.  God made the sun to be the life giving force of creation to reveal his own true life giving force.

Looking for a bit of sun I picked up “One Thousand Gifts” on the advice of a friend.  Anne Voskamp’s inspiration, among other things, was Alexander Schmemann’s “For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy.”  That is one of my all time favorite books!  I could read it over and over again and never be tired of it.  Schmemann’s call and the call that Voskamp echos is to receive creation in thankfulness.  If God made all things then we are to receive them as a gift and to bless His name.  The sacrament of the eucharist teaches us how to approach all of life.  We all know that we should be thankful – but Voskamp’s call to specific thankfulness in the midst of the chaos and hurt of life is encouraging.  Her writing is not smooth – it is rough and poetic like a well done documentary of every day life.

This photograph is one thing I am thankful for.  Last year the children planted a stray maple seed in one of my little pots.  We have enjoyed seeing it grow and eventually added another seedling by its side.  We then surrounded the tiny forest with a broken figurine and a few rock.  It is a little world.  It is the promise of life and growth to me even in the dark winter’s weary waste of death.

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