Even though I vowed almost four years ago to take productivity off her pedestal, checking boxes off a to-do list still may be one of my favorite things. (And I still may be in the practice of adding already completed tasks to a list just for the satisfaction of marking another big X. Maybe.)
So you can imagine my pleasure in counting one thousand gifts! Yes, the daily delight of tangible progress toward a lofty goal. But, oh the joy of actually finishing the task! I never inked a big open box on a folded piece of computer paper or on a long skinny notepad with a black magnet glued to its backside. No, this beautiful box was only written on my heart, seared in my mind.
Name God's grace.
I didn't want it to be creatively conjured or self made. I didn't want to manipulate my own mind or finagle my own words to make this thousandth gift seem perfect, picturesque, even productive.
As I reached 700, 800, 999 gifts I kept thinking, would the anticipation of this capstone leave me disappointed?
No, not at all disappointed.
For the 1,000th gift was not a premeditated word-picture, but an honest outpouring of praise.
My heart whispered, my hand wrote:
#1,000. Wanting more of Jesus.I never saw it coming.
But...then I saw.
The counting of each gift was itself the gift. The gift of seeing more of Jesus. The gift of wanting more of Him.
And of course Ann Voskamp knew it. Saw it. Wrote it.
"I don't need more time to breathe so that I may experience more locales, possess more, accomplish more. Because wonder really could be here--for the seeing eyes."
Every time I scribbled a gift: spring blossom in afternoon sun. nuzzling kisses in my Noah's little warm neck. the perfect cup of coffee. friends who pray for my heart. the best bite of tiramisu. breath... Each gift I scrawled was a God-grace I saw. A moment that didn't slip through time's fingers because it was truly savored.
I completed her joy dare. Do I feel accomplished? Yes.
But more than that. I feel more ALIVE!
Half way through the journey to joy I wondered if once I reached one thousand if that would be enough. If I would have my tidy little journal filled and my dare box checked with a finished red X.
But now I wonder, how could I stop?
The more gifts I see, the more I see my need. My need for more of Jesus. Because I know God is not done with me. My heart is still messy. So messy. My life, my attitude, my actions...far from being His holy perfect.
But I say in one heart with Ann,
"I look for the ugly beautiful, count it as grace, transfigure the mess into joy with thanks and eucharisteo leaves the paper, finds way to the eyes, the lips."