Tuesday, December 6, 2011

100 Things

For four months, I've been weary and congested. It is easy to disintegrate into gloom and grump, especially as the days shorten. The light dims early, and by the time O. gets home, I can barely keep my eyes open. The antibiotics I finally started taking two weeks ago have suppressed but not expelled my sinus infection. Mild despair is a constant temptation.

My home remedy today: gratitude list. I recently encountered from two disparate sources (one of them The Good and Beautiful God) the suggestion to make a list of one hundred things you are grateful for. I am keen on lists, but the idea of a 100-item list is somewhat daunting, and I've been putting it off. But I think today is the day! So...

Today I am grateful for...
  1. the return of my sense of smell
  2. the smell of orange and the fine spray that bursts from its rind as I peel the orange
  3. a super-comfy sleeping bag to curl up in
  4. the Persian carpet I'm sitting on--the most extravagant-feeling item in our apartment
  5. how most of the things in our home were presents from friends, and came accompanied by well-wishes and expressions of affection
  6. the hundred friends at our wedding
  7. all the other friends who couldn't be there: for loved ones scattered across the continent and globe, for such an abundance of relationships that it's impossible to gather the whole network into one room
  8. God's provision of new relationships in this new place
  9. the way that God often waits for me to realize I need something before He gives it to me
  10. O. & our relationship (marriage!)
  11. that miserable programming class where I met O.
  12. O.'s amazing persistence in pursuing me
  13. my mother's cooking lessons
  14. Douglas Hofstadter and his beautiful & fascinating books, especially Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
  15. having read GEB, without which I probably would have remained another silly/stupid Christian in O.'s eyes
  16. parents who read me bedtime "stories" up through high school
  17. my father's love of mathematics and ideas, and his audacity in starting to read his thirteen-year-old daughter an 800-page tome that is packed with propositional logic and number theory (GEB)
  18. the pain of my mistakes with IJ the spring before I met O., without which the lessons of IJ would not have stuck.
  19. the lesson of my sin: God is merciful and I need His mercy so very badly.
  20. the book of Ephesians which changed how I see myself and my God
  21. the sermon on Ephesians 1 and God's riches, generosity & abundance, which turned me to the book of Ephesians in the first place
  22. the university library which provided me with so many books: educational, edifying, entertaining; informative, influential, inspiring
  23. three years of leading a Bible study / small group with Intervarsity
  24. my co-leader, my brother in Christ: without you I couldn't have led, certainly not for three years
  25. God's faithfulness in keeping me at Intervarsity even when all I felt toward my chapter was disappointment, frustration and pain at how I couldn't fit in
  26. my brothers and sister in Christ who showed me the love of the body of Christ and made me see for the first time that the body can't say to me "I don't need you."
  27. the joy of running barefoot across a lawn, chasing a frisbee, surrounded by friends
  28. dandelions like little suns in the green grass
  29. planetariums
  30. the night sky, the million billion stars
  31. the internet
  32. Google, which helps me find so many things online, provides the software for this blog, and pays O., thus providing our food, shelter, savings, health benefits, etc.
  33. electricity, especially for lights
  34. candles and the freedom to burn them here whenever and wherever I want
  35. fresh bread on the counter and sharp cheddar in the refrigerator
  36. being able to walk everywhere I need to go in this town
  37. money for groceries, including the "luxury" items: clementines, apple cider, goat cheese
  38. ready access to the Bible in my own native language
  39. the several hundred books O. and I own between the two of us
  40. my sister's paintings on our walls
  41. my sister & the shape of our sisterhood
  42. free phone and video calls between here and Vietnam (where my sis is): thank you, Skype
  43. ice cream
  44. O. spontaneously buying ice cream for my benefit
  45. the dozen roses O. sent me once upon a time, which I still have, sere and somewhat shriveled but still scented
  46. antibiotics, decongestant, allergy med.s
  47. medical insurance
  48. the way the light marbles when it passes through our glass pitcher, leaving a pebbly shadow on the painted wall
  49. minuscule air bubbles inside the glass sides of our water glasses
  50. the look of the naked winter trees--like so many veins and capillaries, the sky a lung and the earth the heart
  51. such a good high school education, in science and writing and math
  52. having graduated college; the end of homework (for a time).
  53. washing machines
  54. central heating
  55. hot water
  56. the current absence of mice and mouse-droppings
  57. how cute and small mice are, with lovely round eyes
  58. glasses that let me see clearly
  59. eyes that see
  60. the ability to read quickly and easily
  61. an upbringing that taught me to look for the effects of personality, culture and personal history
  62. how friendly and approachable the Bible (usually) feels to me
  63. the relative ease with which I believe the vast majority of the time that God is good and trustworthy
  64. God's trustworthiness
  65. God's love of beauty
  66. Christ's saving sacrifice: that now "in him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence" (Eph. 3:12)
  67. the parable of the Good Shepherd: that it's okay that I'm a sheep and I can't take care of myself, because I have a Good Shepherd (John 9)
  68. the bread that came down from Heaven (John 6)
  69. the gospel of John
  70. language, words, speech, writing
  71. the diversity of languages
  72. Tim Keller, particularly his talk on marriage, given at Google
  73. my intuition for spelling which I really can't take credit for but which makes my life so much easier
  74. poetry workshops and the cool people in them
  75. Kevin Kim, whose presence in the MPPC leadership tells me it's okay to be Korean, it's okay that I only partially resemble an Anglo-American (in both looks and culture). He also gives fantastic sermons.
  76. being biracial, neither one thing nor the other
  77. knowing what it's like to not belong and to stand out on the street as a stranger, because without that experience of exclusion and isolation, how could I empathize with the stranger and foreigner?
  78. having someone to belong with and to, and who accepts me & wants deep intimacy with me: O.
  79. a place that feels like home
  80. the beaches of northern California: the color of the cold, cold sea against the shining blue sky; the grit of the sand under my feet; the green anemones in the dark tide pools; the flocks of sea gulls white against the sand and sky and sea
  81. small groups at church here
  82. free time in abundance
  83. the story of Elijah being fed by ravens as he hid in the ravine for three years: sometimes God calls us to long periods of inactivity and non-productivity
  84. not having any food allergies
  85. the widespread availability of soy milk that actually tastes good
  86. free access to the Oxford English Dictionary through my alma mater's website
  87. art and art galleries and art museums, accessible to me
  88. professors who spent time with me & loved me
  89. a pastor who knows my name and takes time to meet with the people of the congregation
  90. Latin classes in high school, so much etymology just under the surface of my mind (congregation has as its root "grex, gregis: a flock or herd")
  91. a God who is Love and who is Three in One: "God is the opposite of solitude" (Letham in Holy Trinity)
  92. peace when I'm troubled
  93. being called to hope (Eph. 1)
  94. the sky which is visible wherever I go, beauty freely given
  95. cameras and photographs
  96. my memory, a healthy brain
  97. legs that can climb stairs and walk for miles
  98. not being discriminated against because I am a woman
  99. being here to be a person and a story, not a machine or a formula (thanks, Thomas Merton)
  100. freedom in Christ. "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." (2 Cor. 3:17)
  101. chocolate*
*N.B.: These are in the order in which they occurred to me; there is no other ordering principle. :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

41: nicely put, agreed : )
44: LOL LOL LOL LOL O gains so many more points now
77: I feel you here, especially when I was in Vietnam (except for the times they thought I was Vietnamese and could give them directions. Then that was just funny.)
91: WOW, yes.

I also love how EphesiansEphesiansEphesians this list is. Remember how we tried to memorize part of it ages ago? And how I gave up because there were too many adjectives? Also, Martin Luther did the thankfulness list too, I think. I heard about it recently at least, that is. I love you and you're on my unwritten as of yet list bye!