Saturday, November 20, 2010

gratitude project: 20.11.10

No scan today, but a few thoughts (and I hope those of you who follow this know you can click on the photos for larger versions -- please don't try to read the little ones; you'll strain your pretty eyes).

The days deepen into their darkness earlier and earlier as November progresses, and it feels more deeply dark to me this year. Afternoons give up their glow to evenings, and night seems to be taking over. I switch on lamps, light candles, cook warm food, listen to good music.

It has occurred to me, in this time of shortening days and impending chill, that my gratitude project my seem a bit glib if taken out of context. Three things! I'm thankful for! In colored pen! Won't you list some, too! Oh, the world is happy, and I am glad! Let's twirl!

This is hardly the all of it. The sun's vacation to the southern hemisphere, the cold and dark, is a fitting metaphor for some of life right now: people who I love are hurting, wounded, breaking, healing, struggling to keep the scraps of life together. I, being human, have some not-insignificant pains and concerns of my own. And I need hardly comment on the structural injustices that plague us. This is the space out of which my gratitude project has grown, following the advice of a friend who suggested years ago that during hard times, writing down three things for which one is thankful at the end of each day can be a life-giving practice, a light-giving practice, an illuminating shift of perspective that perhaps highlights the next step or two. It is project of radical hope, which as Adrienne Rich reminds us, is utterly necessary if we are to have the creative capacity to imagine a way out of the suffering we're also responsible to acknowledge.

The mystery of beauty and pain, sorrow and joy, darkness and light, their mingling and oppositions and negations, seems daunting at times, but I recognize engaging it as my life's project--as a writer, as a scholar-activist, as a friend, as a person of faith. Just now, you're only getting one half of the equation, but know that there is more. There is always more.

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