Thursday, June 13, 2013

Gratitude as game-changer

It was Tuesday, blogging day, and now it's Thursday and I'm still not certain I'm up to the task – rebounding from Saturday's community open house for Artsy Fartsy, the arts exploration I host for under-served neighborhood kids. Told myself, I could crash this week after many weeks of preparation and pushing.

Quietly, I am pleased. Pleased that I have not crashed as hard as I thought I would after months of planning and implementing. After long, full days, endless phone calls and to-do lists. After assigning jobs and delegating responsibilities. After being offered and accepting so much help. After  recognizing it was God who got me through.

I have not been this busy, well in this capacity [as the mother of two, I have to qualify that statement], in the 15 years I've had fibromyalgia instead of a full-time job. In a sense, I was mothering this project and the 13 middle schoolers in Artsy Fartsy.

I am bone-tired and achy. I skipped my regular Monday ritual of yoga, but have re-initiated my daily exercise regimen. Just now working up my studio routine, though I dipped in Tuesday to make a belly cast of my niece and her 38-week baby. However, Saturday after the event, I lingered long past when everyone left to re-group, unwind from the extreme extraversion this open house required and sink into the idea of what had transpired.

I poured over the guest book to get a handle on who attended and how they found out about us. Pretty enlightening, though intuitively I had a good sense of our visitors. And then, I unfolded 49 notes left in the basket at the center of the labyrinth. The hand-written sign encouraged those making it to the middle to leave a note of gratitude. There were lots people expressed thanks for:
• Joy and energy of young people
• My life and my neighborhood
• Health and family – that I have love in my life
• Family
• Stuffed animals and my dad
• Having good parents
• To be surrounded by family and friends who care about others
• Someone I can trust
• My kind loving husband and my beautiful, gentle, sweet children
• To have a world
• My family and pets because I wakeup and know I am safe and sound
• Health and companionship
• Family and friends, my artistic ability and my Xbox
• This good neighborhood
• Being so well off
• Random acts of kindness
• People who pay it forward
• All of God’s creation (plants/animals)
• Quiet, peaceful time when I can be creative
• Grandkids
• Pie
• Live and let live. Love and be loved.
• I walk this labyrinth in honor of my daughter
• Peace: inner, outer, throughout
• Everything
• This special place
• Doctor Who
• Mom, dad, dog, life
• The ability to love
• Oneness
A good many seemed like love letters to Artsy Fartsy. Those were totally unexpected; they really blew me away. 
• I am grateful that Jehovah God is with Cathy and this great group of kids.
• I am thankful for my wonderful family and for people in our community who create beautiful programs like Artsy Fartsy.
• I am thankful for neighbors and what a great gift they have given to the community.
It was a delightful surprise to know others see AF's impact the way I had hoped and prayed it would be. It lulled me out of the disappointment that half of my kids didn't show. Or that I missed my 200 visitors goal by about 80. That only one council person and one school board member attended. That people that said they would come, didn't. That, mostly, this was over.

I began to recognize how the five girls and one boy that had made it utterly rose to the occasion and shone as brightly as ever. That one woman with great connections delighted in one of the girls and, not only saw her potential, but seems to want to establish a relationship with her. That another's split, but full, family came to encourage her: mother and sister, father, grandparents and cousins. That one who began the program so shy, volunteered to demonstrate yoga and did not mind that her partner didn't make it. She also brought a thank-you note explaining how much AF meant to her:
Thank you for creating Artsy Fartsy. If you wouldn't have done that then I would't have learned a lot about Art. You have inspired me. I hope to be in this again. Thank you again.
And another, the only girl in a long line of unruly boys showed up with perfect hair and a smile to match.

How can I not smile and see what God's hands have wrought through me and so many others? It's so very humbling.

• How do I keep myself faithful to God's call?
• When do I know I have been?
• How do others encourage me?
• How does God show me the abundance in my life?
• Where do I discover love in my community, neighborhood, friends, family and myself?

Listen to this post:

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