"Joy is the realest reality, the fullest life, and joy is always given, never grasped. God gives gifts and I give thanks and I unwrap the gift given: joy." One Thousand Gifts
A few weeks ago, I opened my mailbox to find One Thousand Gifts from a dear friend and mentor, Rhonda Kane. She thought I might glean something from reading the beautifully landscaped contents of this book. I didn't realize that Rhonda could see straight through my blog posts, emails and social statuses, right into my bleeding heart. Was it that obvious?
Immediately I was intrigued. Ann's writing style speaks to my soul. It is descriptive and absolutely poetic. She describes the mundane in a way that I have done so quietly within my own heart. "April sun pools into a dishwater sink, liquid daylight on hands." (page 62) With my husband out of town, a long week behind and a long day ahead with the toddling and inquisitive, I cracked open the book and unknowingly my soul.
One Thousand Gifts is a documentary of a mother's journey to find meaning, fullness, life in the every day. How to find joy in never-ending dishes and laundry (and she is a mother of six, so she should know). Voskamp has a solid theology as she seeks to determine what exactly the theology of this life really is (her phrase is "The theology takes on skin.") How do you find complete joy? Her response: a heart of eucharisteo, or thanksgiving.
As her journey commences, Ann delves deep into her soul, into her pains, into her questions, and has the sweetest of moments bring her back to the truth that God is good. In the children bickering, God is good. In the dishes piled high, God is good. In the floors that can't stay clean, God is good. In all things, God is good.
I adored this book. I cried through many parts (especially the beginning...oh baby, have a tissue or a hundred handy). The tears were cathartic though. I hoped that after the last chapter I would be a new person, and I think that might be the case, at least, after all of Ann - full of grace's words permeate my soul. My head is still reeling. I'm in a wrestling match. And as is the case when you have a meeting with a Saint, I am more aware of my short-comings.
This book is sure to become a classic in my house; one I read many times over the course of my years. I hope to read more that Voskamp puts out. I've bookmarked her websites and encourage you to visit them as well.
I've been thoroughly challenged through Ann's journey, and will be fleshing out my own in the coming days, weeks, and months. I may need to practice the Eucharisteo exercise to glean what I need from this beautiful book. I so appreciate the challenge though. Perhaps you would as well.
Be blessed. God is good.