Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Dare

She dared me, and I'm not one to refuse a challenge. *

She dared me to count my blessings, even in the midst of the mud, mire, and mess of daily life--

"Authentic thanks is always for all things. To bring the sacrifice of thanksgiving means to sacrifice our understanding of what is beneficial and thank God for everything because He is benevolent. A sacrifice of thanks lays down our perspective and raises hands in praise anyways-always.  A sacrifice is,  by definition, not an easy thing--but it is a sacred thing."

As a child, there were many dares. The competitor in me wouldn't let me refuse. Plus, being the only girl out of four siblings, well, refusing a dare just wasn't an option.


Many a summer I would perch on the high dive at the local public swimming pool.  Toes curled tightly around the distal rim of the board, deep end of the pool reflecting a drop of at least 10,000 feet-or so it seemed, I would engage in a verbal tug of war with self--You can do it!.
Defying defeat, I ultimately accepted my fate and took the plunge of death to the thunderous applause of my cheering friends.

Around the age of 10 or 12, I attended a weekend girl scout camp with my troop.
Late in the evening of the first day, when darkness had settled as an eery blanket over us, one of the girls in the cabin swore she had seen a ghost floating in the field between our cabins and the bathrooms. Of course, we all had to use the facilities before retiring for the night. But no one, NO ONE, would brave the black, 50 yard sprint to the bathroom across the field. The image of young girls huddled in terror, and taunting SOMEONE GO FIRST,  must of entertained the leaders to no end.
Guess who excepted the ghostly gauntlet and led the way to restroom reconnaissance?  Yep, Me!

And so, I have accepted this new and different dare-- find cause to praise, in ALL things ;

Last month was a stellar month for me regarding door frames and knobs. They have not been my friends.  And so, once again, my magnetic affinity for door knobs found me hung up by the pocket of my bathrobe and whip lashed back into the door frame.
She said, "Hurry makes us hurt".  A profound insight considering my natural bent is to bustle.
I paused, resisted the urge to swear, and whispered, Thank you, Lord, for the reminder to slow down, to savor the moment. 

The bagger kept slamming my groceries into the cart. Eggs chucked in the bag with canned goods, bread buried beneath the gallon of milk, greeting card shoved up against the condensation of an ice cream carton. Sigh.
Thank you God, that this man has been given the strength and years to still be here on earth. That he can still find constructive labor and social interaction. Make me aware of my own propensity to treat people like groceries. Help me be gentle, respectful of their fragility and uniqueness.

It was my ONE day off for the week. I needed the peace and relaxation BAD and preserved the date with all the ferociousness of a mother bear. The day came and birthed blue sky. The woods were rife with song of sparrow. A balmy breeze drifted softly over the hill. My book and chaise beckoned my presence. Oh how I had eagerly anticipated this day.
But the neighbor? Apparently he took the day off to power wash the house. Really?
Thank you Father for drone of electric motor rather than detonation of bombs in war torn lands. Thank you for freedom to chose our activities rather than be subject to tyrannical rulers.
Thank you for the occasion to pray for those who persecute me.

Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will praise Thee.
Psalm 51:15

*Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts, devotional.