Strange times

Some life-altering things have been happening all around me, and some not so nearby but calling me to contemplate what is important. My father-in-law’s tumor and his surgery last week. A recent diagnosis of prostate cancer for a church friend. A newborn baby with Down’s. A dear friend’s impending divorce and the nastiness of it all. And the Cleveland Park train derailment in my hometown where tragically one 6 year old boy died and 28 mostly kids) were injured. That news hits any parent right in the gut, but somehow blew me away when I think of my sweet 6 year old boy. And then there is Japan. 18,000 people estimated dead or missing. I can’t make heads of everything swirling around me. It is almost too much to bear.

And yet…all around me are the signs of spring. New buds blooming, birds incessantly chirping, warmer temps, pollen (OK, can live without that one). Rebirth. How coincidental that all this soul searching and wondering what’s going on with the world just so happens to take place during Lent. After driving home from the gym two days ago, I just sat in my driveway and did nothing. For like 10 minutes (but it felt like much longer). Not long ago, I would have chastised myself for that time being “wasted.” Now, it counts as one of the most productive moments of my day. Or the time I carve out for reading during Taylor’s piano lesson while Jared plays on the playground. An impromptu walk with the dog. A catch-up phone call with a friend.

You know, we’re all so busy spinning our hamster wheels that we can’t even take a second to slow down and think. Pray. Give thanks. Put someone else’s needs ahead of our own. Try it. It’s amazing the peace and clarity that can come from those few minutes of stillness. Agreed, it works best if you aren’t in a crowd of strangers (a surefire way to get some strange looks) or trying to do this with the kids (heck, trying to do anything moderately productive with kids in tow is questionable, right?) But I am finding that my faith, my peace-heck, my very sanity- hinge on it.

I just started a new book called One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. What drew me to the book (besides the recommendation of a friend) was the subtitle: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are. I’ll admit, when given the choice between truth or dare, I usually chose truth. But boy, dares really get my attention. Because implicit in them is the notion that “you can’t do this.” Granted, I don’t believe that Voskamp is meaning that-but nevertheless, isn’t it human nature to want to rise up to the challenge of a dare? She writes, “How do we find joy in the midst of deadlines, debt, drama, and daily duties? What does a life of gratitude look like when your days are gritty, long, and sometimes dark? What is God providing here and now?”  Finding a way to be grateful is hard, especially when we are reeling from the punches of life. So like Voskamp, I’m starting my own gratitude journal-a beginning on my journey to 1,000 gifts-which I hope to share with you from time to time. For now, I am grateful that I live in a country where I am free to write whatever comes to mind and put it out there in a blog and pretend that some people out there are interested in what I have to say. It’s empowering and thrilling.

So, dear friends, what are you grateful for?



8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Beth Scholz
    Mar 24, 2011 @ 17:34:09

    I truly enjoyed reading this, Sherry. So many thought provoking points. I am truly grateful for friends, the people in my life, who share this crazy world with me and who somehow seem to rise above it all and come away with thought provoking, well thought out THOUGHTS!


    • sherryboswell
      Mar 24, 2011 @ 22:10:06

      Thanks, Beth! I thought of something else: I am grateful you have Spring Break soon and will be coming back to the US! Can we say Girls Night Out? Love ya!


  2. Heather
    Mar 24, 2011 @ 22:31:41

    I am grateful for reunions and hope for the future!


    • sherryboswell
      Mar 25, 2011 @ 09:50:30

      Heather, I am blessed you shared news of that reunion with us and I hope you have lots of good news to share in the future!


  3. Evelyn
    Mar 25, 2011 @ 05:04:38

    Sherry, I love this one. It has a very similar tone to the blog I wrote earlier this week. When so much is happening it can be really hard to look up, but I’m grateful that I learned how to do that. It helps me treasure the calm, and recognize the good. So I’m grateful for family, love, pets, Allegra, the church family that I get a little closer to each week, and so much more. Thanks for sharing!


    • sherryboswell
      Mar 25, 2011 @ 09:54:33

      Evelyn, I jumped right over to to check out your blog-as always, love the insights of you and the other lovely ladies! It’s odd how introspective tragedy makes us and at the same time forces us to see what really matters and to quit sweating the small stuff. And as for your grateful list: amen and haha to Allegra!


  4. David Green
    Mar 25, 2011 @ 08:58:36

    I am grateful for those special people who hold onto you even more tightly in a storm.


    • sherryboswell
      Mar 25, 2011 @ 09:56:50

      “First you have to row a little boat”, friend…and we all squeeze in to that boat together! (BTW, for those wondering-great book titled that written by Richard Bode!)


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