“Greetings, readers of Thriving Among the Lilies! Keith asked me to write on a life of appreciation. I’m happy to do this work and to witness this very quality in our mutual friend & author of this blog. It’s an honor to be here!
Appreciative Abandon, scene 1: My daughter smiles between bites of potato. She’s proud of her samurai-style, triple banded pony tail and how she caught herself before bursting into full song at the table.
Appreciative Abandon, scene 2: My friend and co-worker Lou, our beloved church secretary, reports during a run-of-the-mill phone conversation how she’s in no hurry to retire because she loves her job (this is her 30th year).
In the busy, anxious world where we pay bills and potty train, buy groceries and wave at our neighbors, the above scenes affirm the possibility of childlike gratitude along the way. They expose my tendency to allow what I have earned to shape my way of being in the world. Such an outlook does equal survival within a transactional milieu like ours. It grates, however, against welcoming life as a gift – prizing expectancy, not entitlement.
What we’re calling appreciative abandon will not grace the lines of a to do list. Rather, it arrives as a gift. We ask for, cultivate, and learn appreciation but cannot fabricate it on demand. Meditating on the Psalms, Ben and Robin Pasley sing “A thankful heart prepares the way for you, my God.” The way of appreciation shapes and employs a thankful heart. This heart sees and hears what goes unnoticed by an anxious heart or one clinging to entitlement. I can tell when appreciative abandon wanes as the sunrise, conversations, and crayon-waxed papers play second fiddle to what I (fail to) accomplish in a day or the meal I deserve. Then I hear my three year old pound random piano keys and somehow make the melody work. And I repent; and I offer this poem toward the promise of appreciative living:
Today’s Coffee Black drink taken but first
Steadfast gratitude steeps : Goodness aware Sun waking up : Thoughts of entitlement flee Clouds parting and gift breaks