Lower Yosemite Falls, 2015 jlc
“We’ll know we’re living gratefully by seeing how our love multiplies itself in the lives of the people around us. People don’t follow vision; they follow availability.”
-Bob Goff, founder of lovedoes.org
Last week I rewarded myself for five days straight of computer-gnashing a.k.a. book writing, by getting a pedicure. I dropped into my usual place downtown, grateful they had an open chair. Deciding to switch up my summer electric blue, I reached for a new color before I sat down, something closer to candy apple red, in honor of fall.
Instead of tapping on my tablet, playing Words with Friends (where my brother and sister always beat me), or checking Facebook, Instagram or email on my phone, I vowed to just be available, focus-wise, and opened the magazine in my lap.
As it turned out, there was a new gal taking care of me that day and we didn’t have any kind of conversation, per se. Instead, I found someone speaking to me through the pages of The Magnolia Journal. The piece I read was entitled, “Time for Gratitude,” by Bob Goff. The article began with Goff’s retelling of how he wrote a letter to Keith Green one year when he was in college. And how Keith took the time to write him back.
Keith Green was probably one of the best-known Christian musicians in the late l970’s and into the 80’s; his music was a huge part of my newfound walk as a Christian. Back in the day when the Jesus Movement was bursting the seams of Southern California, many, many musicians and singers were also being birthed. Every other weekend there was a Christian concert of some kind. (Free, I might add).
My husband and I were living in a Christian community at the time and the leadership decided to organize a weekend-long Christian music festival. Keith was invited and just like that, he and his wife Melody drove up to our Central California location, sharing their life and music with us. My husband and our community’s staff carpenter built a stage for Keith to play the baby grand piano on that the Bible school owned. Keith nearly destroyed not only the piano but the platform Bill & Jack had constructed.
That man was animated for Jesus, to say the least.
Keith and Melody were part of a Christian community similar to ours in Southern California back in the 1970’s at the beginning of the Jesus Movement. There were many groups of Christians in the country living with work and living spaces and finances all shared. It was an interesting time, to say the least. We shared several conversations with them over the weekend about what it was like working and living in close proximity to brothers and sisters. I will always remember how the two of them took time to speak with us, exuding grace and giving, embodying the way Jesus would live.
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Goff continues, “Keith Green passed a few years later in a tragic airplane accident, but the few intentional moments of his life he gave to me blossomed into a pattern that has changed the way I connect with people who reach out to me.
“Each of us is a conduit of love … We have the ability to shape and transform one another thought acts of love. The reason is simple. God doesn’t pass us messages; God gives us each other.”
The words seemed to shout from the page, leaping right into my soul. “Yes! That’s how I feel.” I want to live with a grateful heart, available for those God connects me with in my corner of the world, living as a conduit of his grace and love. I want to live a grateful, expansive life, welcoming those God puts in my path, and pour out the gifts He’s given me.
That’s my want-to, an everyday, regular-Joe kinda gal, but sometimes I imagine my life as an Uber-Famous Author, Speaker Extraordinaire. Well-known. Important. I waste my days living into the future, unaware that the simplest acts of slowing down and being thankful for right now where I am can help me pay attention to the life I already have.
With my eyes ever forward I miss what’s already in my life instead of being thankful for the small but important ways I can take time now to live well. I want to to be intentional about noticing my neighbors, knocking on a door when prompted. I want to be attuned to blue skies and lovely breezes, knowing that both are from the hand of God.
All of life is from the hand of God, really, even pain and loss. Especially pain and loss.
Goff’s wisdom continues, “Pain isn’t graded on a curve. Whatever form it comes in, it just hurts. It will either take us out or lead us forward. Let gratefulness be your trusted guide. Follow its footsteps and it will lead each of us to kindness, patience and wisdom.”
There are byproducts of gratefulness, changing our hearts to see all of life through the lens of Gods grace. I want to see the big explosions and the tiny miracles, too. “We don’t need to fire off a thousand fireworks to express our gratitude. Sometimes lighting one candle will do.”
“People who live their lives filled with gratefulness see more waterfalls.”
I want to see more waterfalls and light more candles. How about you?