+[practice]+

"I didnt know you were back in Colorado.  Lucky you!" she wrote yesterday at the close of a note informing me that both of our girls would have full scholarships to camp this year.

I dont believe in luck, I thought, I believe in Provision (insert armored soldier with arm upstretched).  Rigid, weird, judgemental, standing firm and strong, God magnifying (but not!) Keitha thought.  That Keitha who can starve her soul in the name of entering and maintaining long struggle.

Rejecting joy to stand firm in struggle doesnt free the sufferer.  Rather it is only the choosing of authentic thanksgiving in all the intentionally noticed blessings which severs the ball and chain.

Even in a moment of clear Provision and rejoicing, I can choose rigidity and veiled judgement?  Really?  This woman was both the messenger of answered prayers and congratulations; congratulations on actually having made it back to Colorado... and Im thinking about not believing in luck?   Where was the moment when this became a way of life for me?

In that moment my girls were laughing before me about some memory recenly shared.  We were sitting on the back deck which is painted the color of fired clay.  Nearly the same color ourselves, from hours long upon those rough hewn boards, we sat with books, pens, paper and final assignments.  With the sounds of a waterfall lapping amongst rocks,   I was rocking and quickly checking my email.  A bird was singing its praise from the roof and aspens were clapping in the wind.  Everything around me was singing in joy, rejoicing the moment.  Except me.   And as Mercy has a way of showing itself, I was suddenly, acutely aware.  I have no joy because I have no thanksgiving in my heart.  I mean, I say I do, but many weeks have come and gone, perhaps months since I have sat truly in awe and magnification of Him, His gifts, His Provisions, His movement in my life, the relationships He has placed about me.  In fact the last time I can remember being that enraptured was in November or very early December of last year.  And before that...couldnt tell you.    And thus I have no joy.

Count the scriptures which speak of thanksgiving and magnifying Gods goodness.  Underline them in red, I think to myself.  They are there because they are the door by which we enter His joy.  But when I blanket my life with this defensive "I am thankful for everything" business, what I am really saying is that I am too involved with me to stop and notice the Him of every moment.    I must stop, engage with, notice and call out, name the moments... or else they simply become part of the chaos and the busy...and are lost.

There is a lavender scent wafting from Peytons hair as she sits next to me in the sun on that same fired clay deck this very moment.  Shes feeling a bit off kilter this morning and needing a bit more love.    Her sister sits directly in front of me working hard to finish the last of this years physical science practice.  I am reminded that practice is the most demanding part of learning.  And I wonder if practicing my thanks is practice I have not ever fully engaged with.  A fountain next to me pours water from its pyramid top and trickles it onto river rocks and I think He even gave the water a sound.  It sounds like comfort, rest and peace - a reflection of Living Water?

Phone date with Taralyn coming up shortly and Penny, my 70 year old friend,  has invited me to spontaneous tea this afternoon on her deck.  I need to get back with my mom, dad and sister as they were all indirectly involved in yesterdays Provision.  The girls and I are headed to the park for a picnic and tonight is family night out.    I can be busy in my head or I can be busy noticing Him amongst the moments of my day.

I feel really slow...but is this what Brother Lawrence meant in "Practicing the Presence of God"?   Is this what he meant by every moment being the same to him in the way of his communion with God, regardless of his circumstances?  Is this what Paul meant when he said he had learned to be content in everything?  We must learn this, which by learnings' very nature means to practice this?   It doesnt just come with time on the job?

Im off to be a wife, a mom, a teacher, a friend, a daughter and a sister...and to try to begin to learn anew how, above all of those,  to be an attentive child of God.  This, apparently, is going to take practice.