Was it Really the Lists?

There is a part of me that feels like a failure reading a whole book about the saving power of gratitude lists. My lists never saved, only fell flat. I wonder now, did I forget the poetry?

Because, reading Ann's lists, I am struck. She says she's writing simple things; she believes she's being grateful by number after sweet (and sometimes hard) number. But, maybe because it is all written down in one place now, I see it within seconds. She is doing more. She is writing poetry, folding beauty into single words, lines, phrases. Mining the moments for images that seer and sing, wonder and woo.

Morning shadows across old floors, she writes. Then, jam piled high on toast. Her words are what begin to pile high for me. If I take out the numbers and just stack the words, the poems appear...

Wind flying cold wild in hair
Grandma's pressure pot still dancing
Old men looking for words just perfect.

I know she experiences this as a kind of thankfulness, this putting down of poetic words. I wonder if it is something more... the beginning of a dance she engaged in with the Spirit...

and the Spirit of God hovered over the waters...

And what did the Spirit of God do but begin spilling words in pure Genesis poetry, the refrain being "it is good"?

Suddenly I do not feel like a list-failure anymore. I make my lists, I do. Lists without numbers. A thousand lines, like Ann? Maybe in time. Poem after poem after poem, naming the world and grief and spirit and dreams.

Quotes from Chapter 3 of One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW! I had shivers seeing it from your point of view. And the part about the Spirit spilling words in pure Genesis poetry...this spoke to me so much.
Thank you! ~Jessica

Anonymous Maureen said...

Love how you see and read Ann's marvelous words.

Blogger Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus said...

I add you to my own gratitude list. So thankful for you, your distinctive voice and your unique dance with the Spirit.

Love you ...

Blogger Jessaca said...

Even your words of wondering are poetic!!! =D

Blogger Ann Voskamp @Holy Experience said...

And in the end, Monica sends me this quote and it's in the afterword, the epiphany: ""the greatest of poems is an inventory." [GKC Orthodoxy CW1:267]

Yes -- it was the inventory that sang the love sonnet that He writes all over the world.

I love how you write poetry all over the world, L.L.

So much love, my friend... so much.

Blogger Connie Mace said...

"If I take out the numbers and just stack the words, the poems appear..." GOD has blessed you with a beautiful gift...to look deep and find the poetry...


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