‘The hours illuminated and celebrated’: Thankful Tuesday

“Cast out from the luxuriant friendship and ease of the hours, we feel a blankness, a sameness, an aloneness, a lack of sense to all our doings and even our accomplishments. We attend the hushed memorial service for a dead friend and find the list of his achievements moves no one in the assembly, but the atmosphere does quicken in the crowded room when his daughter speaks of all the many things he loved and everything and everyone he held in his affections. The dogs, the chopping of wood, the homemade telescopes, the sunsets from the porch, his daughter’s children, the jokes that enlivened the long meetings at work. There is laughter surprise, revelation. Suddenly we know who we have lost, as if identity in the great measuring moment of its loss is based on on what we have loved and held in our affections and all the rest is chaff to be blown away by the arrival of death. Love is the measure of identity because in love is the timeless and untrammeled, the presence of things, the hours illuminated and celebrated like the steeple bell across the fields, filling the hollows and the hot afternoon to the brim…Death is not impressed by what we have done, unless what we have done leaves a legacy of life; death’s tide washes over everything we have taken so long to write in the sand…” (David Whyte, Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity)

  • A Sunday to sit outside on the porch in the barely cool breeze (or at least attempt to sit. There’s this baby who kept trying to dive head-first down the two steps off the deck).
  • For the t-shirt my friend Cat sent August last week in celebration of his hometown. “In West Philadelphia born and raised, on the playground is where I spent most of my days,” it says, honestly.
  • For days where I accomplish nothing because my baby is getting both front teeth at once. For hugs and songs and a stubborn boy who can’t stand that he doesn’t yet know how to walk.
  • For all four of us eating the same meal for dinner and liking it!
  • Clean dishes and clean laundry
  • Feeling the need to sing Jon Secada with my husband in the kitchen, the plastic toy rolling pin our shared microphone, our three year old begging us to stop. (Oh, this is just the beginning, honey.)
  • Clean white sheets on a bed
  • My college girls being back in town, Sunday night dinner with them at the diner
  • Today: a Tuesday night date night…Sushi!!!
  • A husband who wants to buy me cute new shoes
  • Candles and cloth napkins on a Monday night family dinner
  • The reminder that my day is not valuable because of what I can accomplish, but by the “illuminated hours” David Whyte speaks of. Those moments we hold up as beautiful in the midst of scratched off to-do lists and important correspondence.
  • Reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to August before nap time. The joyful longing of a good chapter story…
  • That August goes to a school that celebrates Chinese New Year. That he came home from school saying: “Gung Hay Fat Choy!” carrying a hand-made paper dragon. (So thankful that some traditions we experienced in San Francisco are carrying over…)

It’s Thankful Tuesday. List them! Come on, you know you want to…

  • Tracy

    A Rector in the House!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A dear Rector!
    A fifth grade daughter who writes essays – how did that happen?
    A husband who wants to pray more even if it’s a mystery.
    One son who never wants our hugs to end and another who dilligently tries so hard to do many things that are easy for the rest of us!
    Bright sunshine after a really dreary 2 days!
    Micah who draws me into the sweetness of family and life!

  • Tracy

    A Rector in the House!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A dear Rector!
    A fifth grade daughter who writes essays – how did that happen?
    A husband who wants to pray more even if it’s a mystery.
    One son who never wants our hugs to end and another who dilligently tries so hard to do many things that are easy for the rest of us!
    Bright sunshine after a really dreary 2 days!
    Micah who draws me into the sweetness of family and life!

  • Lauren O’Connell

    yay, the lion the witch and the wardrobe!! re-reading beloved books is my not-so-secret favorite part of parenting!!
    * for coming out of slumps
    * for my second grader researching the wright brothers. he’s not sure why – can’t articulate if he’s writing something, or giving a presentation, or ??? – but he’s loving learning about them and teaching us. it’s adorable.
    * for that same second grader coming up with a brilliant approach to cleaning up this evening. nothing like child-led chores!!!
    * for the chance to shoe-skate on a frozen lake this past weekend
    * for the seed catalogue i’m drooling and dreaming over
    * for not one but two unexpected notes from friends today!
    * that when i started looking at homes in the area we’re moving to this summer, they actually seemed maybe-possibly-tantalizingly in reach…i might have a yard this summer!! (see above seed catalogue drooling)
    * that i figured out how to download library books to my kindle (and that i have a kindle!!)


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