I recently read a quote that I just love in one of my favorite books, One Thousand Gifts: “…unfolding of a chronicle of grace, our life story in freeze frames of thanks.” I loved the metaphor!
Just as a camera zooms and then focuses in on a moment of life and then captures it to preserve for future remembrance, so we too can train our hearts to focus in on each detail of life/those moments of grace and then capture them in “freeze frames of thanks.”
How do we capture these moments when life seems so fleeting? How do we treasure and “freeze” these moments of grace to recall in future remembrance?
How do we even stop to savor, to touch, to breathe, to listen?
Another quote from the same book I previously referenced said, “…the busyness of your life leaving little room for the source of your life … God gives us time. And who has time for God? …Getting to the next thing without fully entering the thing in front of me. I cannot think of a single advantage I’ve ever gained from being in a hurry. But a thousand broken and missed things … lie in the wake of all the rushing… I thought I was making up time. It turns out I was throwing it away … in our rushing … we break our own lives. Haste makes waste … The hurry makes us hurt. And maybe it is the hurt that drives us on? …The longer I keep running, the longer the gash, and I drain, bleed away. Hurry always empties the soul. …The real problem of life is never a lack of time. The real problem of life — in my life — is lack of thanksgiving. Thanksgiving creates abundance; and the miracle of multiplying happens when I give thanks — take the just one loaf, say it is enough, and give thanks — and He miraculously makes it more than enough. …I am mother-tired, but when my soul doth magnify, my time doth magnify. …when I swell with thanks and weigh the moment down … it’s giving thanks to God… that multiplies the moments, time made enough. I am thank-full. I am time-full.”
So in these moments of real life, I seek to capture/to focus on each picture of grace — moments of grace that only a heart of thanksgiving can fully see. It is this focus that captures, that magnifies the grace and then helps me to see its Source.
What about all the pain too? What about the sin? What about my own sin? Do I gloss over the pain, the tragedies, the darkness in my heart? Again, the book I am reading wrote, “Joy and pain, they are but two arteries of the one heart that pumps through all those who don’t numb themselves to really living. … in the vein and the visceral: life is loss.” It’s true, isn’t it?! The more my senses are amplified, the more I see, hear, smell, taste, and feel. Life isn’t just a “Pollyanna moment.” It’s pregnant with both joy and pain. Yet, this life is still a gift. It is a measurement of my heart. It is the only legacy I will “write.”
How do I reconcile the pain with the joy?
Does the joy negate the pain? No. I believe the pain though can be the dark lines that contrast the beauty of the lighter colors. In photography, it takes the perfect balance of light and darkness/contrasts to produce a replica of a moment in all its fullest beauty. I feel the pain. I see the pain. Yet, to fully live, to fully love, I also see the joy and feel the joy. I learn to “zoom in” on the minutest details of each moment of grace with a mind-set/heart-set of thanksgiving.
With the “lens” of grace, I pause/I “weigh down” life’s moments with thanksgiving and feel the joy. Here are just a few of those moments from me over the past few days:
103. Baby sleeping 8 hours straight
104. Husband letting me sleep in
105. Breakfast in bed
106. Pattering of little feet across the floor below
107. Warm shower
108. Baby kisses
109. Laundry tumbling in wash machine
113. Fellowship with friends
120. Bills paid
125. Jonathan’s love note
127. Playing games with my boys
130. Pristine snow… freshly falling, blanketing the earth
143. Footprints in the snow
157. Warm, tapioca fluff
186. Heart-shaped Dunkin’ Donuts for everyone
191. My kids allowing me to sleep in
196. Dancing and singing with my kids in the driveway last night … doing the unexpected
198. Boys who still ask me to sit with them on Wednesday night song times
199. Boys who jostle me, trying to fit on my lap while I read stories
200. With laughter, watching my boys pull their sister around on a toy truck
202. Playing Checkers with Will
203. Personalized Valentine card from Husband
204. The little ways he romances me, like taking a straw wrapper to form my name
205. Newly-framed pictures of my family on walls
I am learning… still learning, but this “heart-set” is helping me to see how each breath I take is full of grace!