Have I mentioned how much I love C. S. Lewis? I’ve not read as many of his books as I’d like to. (It’s, unfortunately, rather a short list.) His quote on page 55 is so profound and it strikes me that it is a great one for me right now:
“If you think of this world as a place intended simply for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable: think of it as a place of training and correction and it’s not so bad.”
I have noticed lately (the last several years) how difficult, painful life is for so many (myself included.) The list of sorrows is quite long when I think of just those among my family and friends who are dealing with serious difficulties–infidelity, infertility, death of loved ones, cancer, addiction, mental illness. I could go on and on but honestly? it’s way too tiring.
And yet, this is what I remember, time and again–the pain and sorrow, the loss, the life unhappiness.
Partly, I forget that we can expect trouble; the happy times encourage us, but we should not be upset or surprised when the difficulties arise. Partly, I am not a very observant person by nature. Partly, it is just easier to see what is not than to see what is. Maybe this is just me?
It was September 2009 when a friend introduced me to Ann’s blog (thank you Nani!) But at that time I was too busy to read it. Figured I’d get to it later.
Then I miscarried, and suddenly I found time to do these little things I wasn’t able to before. I liked Ann’s writing and the music at her blog was oh, so soothing to my aching heart. There were many nights I stayed up, sleepless, just listening to the beautiful piano and crying.
On her blog I saw this thing, Multitudes on a Monday, I think I saw it called. A list of a different kind: a list of blessings and graces. With my heart aching, I knew that this would be a good thing to start.
I reached my goal of listing 1000 gifts before my baby would have been born and have continued since then. It was helpful. Suddenly I noticed little, beautiful details of life: The cute things the children said. Colors, especially purple of course. Little bits of love. I also noticed that I appreciated the blessings more, remembered them more.
It has been helpful since then too, though I’ve not been consistent with sharing them here. (My first journal is nearly used up–I need to get a new one! I’ve also gone through 3 pens in it!)
And really, it is much better to keep track of blessings than the pains and griefs. “Count them one by one,” the song says. Naming them, Ann says. Because it is true, there is great significance in naming an item. When I was pregnant with my fifth child, the one after the miscarriage, it was difficult for The Bull and I to discuss names for her. She was unnamed for her first 12 hours. When I was pregnant with our other children we had picked out names before birth and began calling them by name at birth. (We choose to not find out gender before birth, so we picked out a male name and a female name prior to birth.)
So I think I will get back to continue listing my gratitudes here on the blog. One reason I quit was it just took so much time and effort to list them all out, so I think I’ll just list a few every week. I’ll start this week. My list seems, sometimes, to degenerate into a “have done” list and I’d like to get better at seeing the Giver’s hand in the gifts; then again, I tend to be a task oriented person and maybe this is just what it is for me.