"First of all," he said, "if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you'll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view […] until you climb into his skin and walk around in it." (3.85-87)
- To Kill a Mockingbird
"He who busies himself with the sins of others, or judges his brother on suspicion, has not yet even begun to repent or to examine himself so as to discover his own sins..."
—St. Maximos the Confessor (Third Century on Love no. 55)
So this is the part when I sit at my keyboard and prayerfully attempt to conjure up gratitude from out of thin air. Sometimes it bubbles forth effortlessly and other times it shrivels up into nothingness, all dry and dusty, in the inescapable heat of trying circumstances. Sometimes, it takes a miracle to turn barenness into fertile ground.
Lord have mercy.
Here I go:
Today I am thankful for indisputable evidences of my imperfections. I am thankful for that burning sensation in my gut upon being exposed as the flaw riddled mother, wife, homemaker, friend, Orthodox Christian, that I am. I am thankful for losing my cool. I'm thankful for becoming stalled and having no earthly idea as to how to proceed. I'm thankful for never being able to live up to my own expectations. I am thankful for the tears that wash pride away.
Today I am thankful for the sting of being misunderstood - thankful because, as our priest reminded us on Sunday, what Christ is looking to seize is not stellar works but a certain condition of the heart: brokenness, submissiveness. I am thankful for being humbled. For only the humble can, in all honesty, refrain from passing judgement, refrain from assuming the worst (from assuming anything at all) about others. Only those who have fallen hard can tenderly empathize with their fellow struggling and blemished human beings, each with their own unique trials and crosses to bear.
I am thankful for the Jesus Prayer, thankful for coffee, thankful for the mundane chores that instill a gentle rythmn into even the hardest of days. I am thankful for the mystery of Strength being born out of weakness.
I surrender all.