what to see before you die

I am currently reading – or should I say, devouring – Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. This section in Chapter 2 was so vivid and powerful, I had to share it. I encourage you to read the book!

I wake to the discontent of life in my skin…To the wrestle to get it all done, the relentless anxiety that I am failing. Always, the failing. I yell at children, fester with bitterness, forget doctor appointments, lose library books, live selfishly, skip prayer, complain, go to bed too late, neglect cleaning the toilets. I live tired. Afraid. Anxious. Weary.

…I really want to really live. To live either fully alive…or in empty nothingness? It’s the in between that drives us mad. It’s the life in between, the days of walking lifeless, the years calloused and simply going through the hollow motions, the self-protecting by self distracting, the body never waking, that’s lost all capacity to fully fuel – this is the life in between that makes us the wild walking dead.

I get to. I get to live…

I remember once sitting at the hairdresser’s. The woman beside me reads, and I read her title in the reflection of the mirror: 1000 Places to See Before You Die. Is that it? Are there physical places that simply must be seen before I stop breathing within time, before I inhale eternity?

Why? To say that I’ve had reason to bow low? To say that I’ve seen beauty? To say that I’ve been arrested by wonder?

Isn’t it here? Can’t I find it here? … The wonder? Why do I spend so much of my living hours struggling to see it? Do we truly stumble so blind that we must be affronted with blinding magnificence for our blurry soul-sight to recognize grandeur? The very same surging magnificence that cascades over our every day here. Who has time or eyes to notice?

I don’t need more time to breathe so that I may experience  more locales, possess more, accomplish more. Because wonder really could be here – for the seeing eyes.

So – more time for what?

The face of Jesus flashes. Jesus, the God-Man with his own termination date. Jesus, the God-Man who came to save me from prisons of fear and guilt and depression and sadness.
…what does Jesus count as all most important?

“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them…” Luke 22:19 NIV

…In the original language, “he gave thanks” reads “eucharisteo.” …But it also holds its derivative, the Greek work chara, meaning “joy.” Joy. Ah…

That might be what the quest for more is all about – that which Augustine claimed, “Without exception…all try their hardest to reach the same goal, that is, joy.”

Is the height of my chara joy dependent on the depths of my eucharisteo thanks?

So then as long as thanks is possible…I think is through.

As long as thanks is possible, then joy is always possible. Joy is always possible. Whenever, meaning – now; whenever, meaning here. The holy grail of joy is not in some exotic location or some emotional mountain peak experience. The joy wonder could be here!

The only place we need to see before we die is this place of seeing God, here and now.

“The only real fall of man in his noneucharistic life in a noneucharistic world.” (Alexander Schmemann)

That  was the fall! Non-eucharisteo, ingratitude, was the fall.

If our fall was the non-eucharisteo, the ingratitude, then salvation must be intimately related to eucharisteo, the giving thanks.

We only enter into the full life if our faith gives thanks.

…thanksgiving is necessary to live the well, whole, fullest life.


One thought on “what to see before you die

  1. Yes, so good! Words for life! I am re-reading it again, as I think I will yearly. Never has a book, outside the Bible, brought such transformation to my thoughts and therefore my life! Glad you are eating it up too! Started your journal yet?!

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