Inspired by Ann Voskamp, on April 13, 2011, I began to make a list of gifts, began numbering them in my journal with the intent to reach one thousand. The fragments of list are interspersed throughout other things, so that the list begins in the brown-backed journal with the elastic closure, and continues into the spiral-bound journal with pink flowers on it. This morning, I listed the thousandth gift.
The list begins with “1. Sunshine in the morning.” Today I wrote, “1000. The way the leaves on the far side of the oak tree are glowing while these nearest me are dark.” I didn’t plan it that way, but somehow it seems right that the list begins and “ends” — quotation marks because I intend to keep counting — with light, since it is the Father of lights from whom every good and every perfect gift comes down.
When I was six years old, I sang a solo in a church musical. The song sticks with me still, adapted from Ecclesiastes 3:11 by Donna Ball: “In His time, in His time, He makes all things beautiful in His time. Lord, please show me every day, as You’re teaching me Your way, that You do just what You say in Your time.”
I began by listing only pleasant things, but realized during last summer, that the painful things also, since they are being made beautiful, bit by bit, since they will certainly be beautiful in His time, belonged on the list, too. So I listed some, and have added hurts, sometimes, along with the happiness on the list which to write is to say “Thank You, Father, for this.”
When the boy drove off the bridge last summer, when we watched him — so still and pale — trundled past us in a hospital hallway, when he lay with his neck in a brace and squeezed my hand, I didn’t exactly and directly thank God for that broken back. But I listed all the details which left him alive and able to squeeze my hand. And I prayed and prayed for him to walk, though the whispers in the hospital hallways were grim.
Today I add another gift to the list:
1001. The boy WALKING 100 meters with forearm crutches.
The Father of lights works still, making all things beautiful in His time. Join me; thank Him.