A Grateful Table: When the Heart Opens a Window

"She was deliberate about getting up at the crack of dawn to begin her day, and she was just as intent upon getting her attitude right-good and happy. She started her day in the quiet of her kitchen, with prayer, praise, thanksgiving and making pies. With a good cup of hot coffee set close by, she would open her Bible and underline a scripture that spoke to her heart. As she pondered the verse, she went about mixing the feather-soft flour with the sugar and salt, cutting in the butter, then slowly drizzled in the water..."--from Warm Pie, Happy Hearts

Well, i was wrong about not posting on the new blog yet...becuase i just couldnt resist. On a walk this evening was thinking about Brother Lawrence. About how his "heart prayer" was to simply pray "Thank you, Father" whatever happened, remembering that in all things we are lovingly cared for whether we can see it at the moment or not. And he was right! Something about that, it changes everything. It helps us find our... windows. A life without gratitude is like a house without windows. And we so deeply need those windows!

I keep thinking of Jeremiah 29:5, especially as it was paraphrased so beautifully by Redbarn:

"Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile:

build homes, plant gardens, become family. Sing the Lord’s song in this foreign land.

In essence: bloom where you are planted."

God left a window open for the those even in exile...and i believe He leaves a window open for us today. In each life, in each situation. And more and more i wonder if it is our simple "thank you, Father" that opens that window somehow... that helps us see the view, breath in the air, open His gift He has left for us right here and now. And it changes each day...new gifts, new "views". I love this passage from Cajun Cottage Under the Oaks:

"What can be more revealing than a physical window whose welcoming presence reflects the windows of our mind. Then, upon closer inspection, we realize that the transparent pane that separates reality from our ideals is but a shaft of light. A shaft of light that takes our mundane lives and turns them into something richer, sweeter and more imaginative. A shaft of light that takes the dreariness of our earthly lives and widens our thoughts to encompass more space:

"Of all the features of the house at Rocky Ridge---and it bore many marks of Almanzo's inventive mind---perhaps the most pleasing to Laura were the spacious windows, for they opened her view to the world she had loved as a child. The four great windows of the parlor framed 'landscapes of forest and meadow and hills curving against the sky.' The curtains hung straight, the glass was always uncovered.

"' I don't want curtains over my pictures,' Laura would say. 'They're never the same for two hours together, and I like to watch them changing.'

"In the kitchen was a window with a special purpose. 'She hates kneading bread,' Rose said. 'All her life she has hated it, and baked twice a week. So the window is there. She forgets the kneading in looking at the sheep pasture. She has windows everywhere,' Rose added, 'not only in her house, but in her mind.' " ---Laura by Donald Zochert "

There is always a window i think... including now. I have just moved to a town that is so small there isn't so much as a gas station or an ATM. And i am waaay too close to the fumes of the highway and also to the high pollen. I also just found out (yikes!) that snakes are common here once the heat warms up. Oh yeah, and the heat. And yet... there are so many windows when i actually look around that it's been taking my breath away. The folks here are decent and the crime rate is low. When out walking, the air smells like sage. There are still birds outside my window, even if different kinds of birds now. And on my walk this evening i saw a family of owls (the same ones i'd seen the other day as well), it was just amazing. And turning to head back home something made me stop...and turn to see the sweetest mule deer doe looking over. She was there for the longest time, and came closer and closer. It was practically dark by the time i headed back becuase i was just glued to the spot...owls on one side, the deer on the other. "Thank you, Father" SO much for these gifts!

Now i know that blessings are not always so obvious as this. Sometimes things are dire, and sometimes the window that we have been left by Him is simply the helping hand of another so needed. Or sometimes its simply a gentle touch when we are ill, or the feel of a soft blanket when we are sad, or that little passage on the page that we needed somehow to hear that day. Yet small windows are still windows all the same...they let in the view, they bring in the air.

I used the beginning qoute up top becuase it shared such a lovely example of someone "opening the window" upon rising. Another example is praying the Morning Offering. It doesnt have to be the prayer suggested there of course, its more the spirit. I love for example this Morning Offering prayer by St. John Vianney, My God, send me thy Holy Spirit to teach me what I am and what thou art! The point is to simply open that window to Him, and to hope in what the new day may hold, longing to seek the blessings there. There's no denying that there will be difficulty in this life, but isn't it comforting to know that He leaves us a window somehow? Deeply comforting.

Well who knew? Perhaps the most vital thing we can do to start our day (or start anything for that matter) is simply "opening the window"....

(Top image from SuzyQ of Sailing by Starlight, and the bottom one is unknown)

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