Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Why "savor"?

Occasionally, one of my friends (actually, she was my adorable 9th grade English teacher) will post a link on her Facebook to a post from A Holy Experience.  You may have already heard of her, Ann Voskamp.  I began reading about a month ago.  Wow. is an understatement to me.  The Lord just saturates this woman.  And she writes so beautifully. Another understatement.  You just have to read for yourself. 

Since I read this post of hers about two weeks ago, I've been meaning to stop and write about it.  I stumbled on it through a link in one of her other posts, and it couldn't have been any more perfect.  Right before I started this blog, I had just graduated from Mississippi State and had no clue what I was going to do or was supposed to do job wise.  And I was anxious, my mind always spinning to figure it out.  As a super-planner-organizer-controller, my natural tendency is to fret and make a plan and try to pinpoint what I need to be doing--what I think I need to be doing.  Instead of focusing on the present, enjoying the present--the gift of the present--I am preoccupied with the future.  Where will I be and what will I be doing tomorrow, next month, next year, in five years. 

I'm not very good at Proverbs 27:1.
{Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.}
And I'm not very good at Psalm 46:10 either.
{Be still. And know that I AM GOD.}

So when I graduated and my planner mode kicked into over-drive, God began tugging at my future-focused heart, saying, "Be still. Right now. That is where I want you. Savor right now.  Live what I've given you today, each day, every day."  

And so the name of my blog.  Ann Voskamp exactly expresses my thoughts on this and what the Lord so tenderly taught (and is teaching) me, so read them in her God-gifted eloquence.
The Only Place to Really Live

"I name years like I’ve named babies because each one births a different life that needs to be raised up and remembered.

The oldest of those six babies we birthed in ten years, he was twelve when I named the first year, and that was the Year of Eucharisteo, that Greek word that the girl with the Dutch name needed to learn.

I had to bang it out, late at night, a whole ream of lines and pages about learning that word and how it changed my lifebecause I’m slow and handicapped like that and need word markers to grope along to figure my life out and I’m still learning to get my life around the hard eucharisteo.

The next year was the Year of the Communion and I didn’t come close to fully unlocking the mystery to the Oneness. But I still want this: communion more than consumption, God to fill my canyons because nothing in this world can.

But wanting does not make a reality. The Farmer’s father, his name is Jan made John when he crossed the ocean with a suitcase full of prayers and that John had six sons and they named fully two of them John. I think I may need to name another year (or two) Communion.

I don’t have a favorite child of these crazy and wondrous half dozen, but I do think last year, the Year of Yes, may be a secret favorite of the years.

It went like this: “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 1:20 and “Yes, you can, yes, that’s an ingenious idea, yes, make that, yes, yes, yes, yes, honor, yes, love God with your whole heart, yes, submit to one another, yes, say YES to Love and Christ and Grace, and Now and YES!

Yes gave our children permission to expand wings, had me trembling on planes with wings of my own, opened up life to God and let all His amazing grace carry us. I still said too many nos. So does the year of Yes have to end or could we keep agreeing with Him in this moment, soar higher into what is?

My sister sits rubbing the curve of her 36 week baby ripe stomach and I ask her if they’ve picked one yet, a name, this for her fifth, the four before all girls and all with names of only three letters, all ending in the same Jewish “a.” Sometimes it’s hard to know what comes next because of what’s already come before. Years can all end in the same ah-ha too. I think I’ve picked a name for this New Year.

Wiping off the table after lunch last week, the name comes to me, like crumbs falling into the hand.

The snow’s falling and my mind’s racing ahead with all of the things that need to be done and there’s still the pots and pans soaking and the laundry to be switched over and learning plans to be sketched out for the new year and how many emails that should have been responded to last week because there are real people that I really care about at the end of those notes and I have to get to the post office today and the calendar squares are fattening a year that isn’t even born yet and I am only a little bit terrified of how to live.

The snow’s so quiet, coming straight down… knowing where it’s going.

I’m wiping off the table. It strikes me: I am not here. My mind’s lunging ahead, already dashing onto the next and the next and the next, tripping over this and that and falling all over the future that isn’t.

I profane this moment when I won’t stay in it.

I desecrate now when I dismiss it in my push for the next. There are snowflakes sticking to the glass of the window.Right there at the table’s edge I can see them clustering together, piling, melding on the pane. I almost missed it.

I miss living this moment because my head’s already moved into the next moment — the one that isn’t even here yet — and when I am not in this moment but trying to shove into a moment that doesn’t even exist — I miss out on living at all. I may bodily be in this space but I am not even alive.

Could I be walking through the years but not even be alive?

There’s a dishcloth in my hand. The skin of my hand is the border of me in time, my skin the way of keeping me within the frame of now. Is this why God puts us who are souls into bodies? To keep us in this moment?

My body is my boundary, keeping my soul in this space.

I take a deep, long breath. This moment comes straight down.

I’m at the brink of another year and I really want to live… and this moment here is the only one I can live in. Worrying about tomorrow robs me of the moment I have right now and I can feel the vortex of the future sucking me in, down, away, sucking the life and now right out of me. Fear is always the flee ahead. Mentally racing ahead to imagine some catastrophe looming round the next corner. Fear is always the flee ahead. And that is what leaves us for dead.

The only place I can ever be alive is right here.

Right where these feet are is the only place joy will ever be possible.

So there it is: The Year of Here.

The years do all have themes.

Eucharisteo was the beginning, the foundation, the rock under it all that never stops reshaping my life and giving thanks for this moment is what keeps me in this moment. It’s this living eucharistically that draws me into God who comes in the moment, into communion, and what could I say but yes? Yes to here. This gift, this grace, this moment.

When I am present to the Presence of God meeting us in this moment, I am not worrying, I am not regretting, I am not chaffing, griping, fuming, fretting.

Be all here: and be holy.

Be all here: and be happy.

Because the Presence of I AM always fills the present moment.
Be all here and be at peace… content… awake —- Alive. When I am mindful of this moment, the mind fills with God and the heart fills with peace and joy-thanks fills the prayers and isn’t the only way God can come to us is through the door of this moment? Here.

The flakes are larger now. Lingering. Their lacy edges entwine. This is the thing, the real thing of living —- Notice now: and you win joy. God is beautiful here.

I say yes to Him and the year of here and press my hand against the cool of the window.

Joy’s a snowflake on the sill — it lives only here in this moment."

I hope this will be a challenge and encouragement to you, as it is to me.  The Father wants me, all of me, right here, right now.  And wants me simply to trust him with the all the rest.   

{He is enough.} 

*I ordered her new book, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, over two weeks ago, and it finally arrived yesterday.  Chapter one last night. Chomping at the bit to read chapter two.  

1 comment:

  1. beautiful post. Thank you for sharing!
    My dear friend, Katie who adopted from Ethiopia last year just finished One Thousand Gifts. It rocked her... I cannot wait to see what God teaches you through it also. It's on my list - one day I'll get to it. :)


love hearing your thoughts!

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