They line up, empty vessels, crocks he brought home, those hard-working hands, set aged pottery on the table, and every week I fill them with beauty, every week, shades and hues and color of the sky and earth meeting in petals, every week I fill them, the ceremony of the gathering.
Vases, they’ve become furniture, permanent furniture, these last months of sun, since spring and the peonies.
Before, I’d simply slip a vase off the shelf when a child brought in a fistful of Queen Anne’s lace, summer’s scattered doilies… or boys raced in with first profusion of wild daffodils from the ditches…. or when he’d stop the tractor at the edge of the sideroad on the way home from the other farms, right there by the neighbor’s, and Farmer Husband would fill his arms with tiger lilies growing free under the maples, him feeling no shame in greased and manly hands picking the slender stems, carry flowers home for his bride.
I’d get a vase down then.
Must get vessel.
But when Farmer gave me the crocks, eventually set of four, the world spun. I had vessels. One on the dining room table, one before the sink, one by the hearth, one in the study. They were permanent fixtures in a house wired for glory.
Must find beauty.
Now that empty cups of pottery wait, I am seeker, gatherer… one always looking. I need to find beauty to fill the emptiness.
It’s always the last act of the weekly cleaning, the ceremony of the gathering. Thursdays, after the floors are washed, the rocking chairs dusted, the grime of the week valiantly, momentarily, swept and scrubbed away, we empty the crocks of the faded glory.
Never anything purchased with paper or change… only that which can be bought with attention. A wildflower from the roadside, a branch from the woods, grasses growing long in the ditches. And when in bloom in the garden, zinnias, a happy round face from the sunflower patch, a flowering chive or two.
“Can I gather the flowers this week?” a son asks, hand on the back doorknob, scissors in hand.
“Can I go too?” She’s already flash of blond light across kitchen.
We’ve become this motley tribe of beauty hunters.
I set the last vase on the sink ledge.
Beside the wee explosion of praise, my gratitude journal lies open.
I remember before, when I used to do generic thanks: mumble a bit of thanks before the sleep, give thanks before the meal. Have grace. Sorta, (now and then), must give thanks.
I’d take God out of the box then… sometimes.
Have space to give thanks, space to chronicle a thousand gifts.
Must find grace.
I become a seeker, a looker. A God hunter.
And in the daily ceremony of the grace gathering, joy fills the emptiness and bouquets of blessings, Father-glory, never fade, and color suffuse the moments, God in the moment gathered.
… a snippet of the endless gifts …
1135. white hair at temples
1136. freshly laundered aprons
1137. handwritten cards
1138. boy initiative
1139. boy sweat
1140. bike helmets
1142. her giggle
1143. streak of plane across setting rose sky
1144. kids slurping homegrown watermelons
1145. memorized verses on little lips
1146. bows and curls at the breakfast table
1147. him bringing home ice cream
1148. house full of aroma of fresh peppers, tomatoes, pumpkin pies
1149. the way they glee-laugh when churning out the tomato puree
1150. again, the most important, all the things I can’t see, only feel, know in the crevices:
Want to shift your world? Become a God Hunter?
Consider joining the Gratitude Community! Just jump in with your own counting!
( Drop me a line if choose to begin giving intentional thanks and gather fresh joy… I’m STILL CRAZY behind right now in adding your links (I BEG your kind grace! Thank you!), but I absolutely PROMISE I’ll get caught up here soon (your emails have all been starred) and will happily add either your name or a web link to the Gratitude Community )
If you’d like to share your gathering of God in the moments… , (please, jump in!) consider adding the direct URL to your specific 1000 gift list post…