Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Joy of Naming

It has been a year since I began the naming of gifts, encouraged by a new friend on the internet. A year to name a thousand. 52 Mondays to stop and think and list the moments of grace that make up each 24 hours.

My mind turns to a photo essay from the early 1990s in which a journalist sought to picture average families from around the world, surrounded by their possessions. Included were statistics -- numbers that spoke of life expectancy, infant mortality, energy use.

Each picture spoke a thousand words and more about living conditions and treasures.

But I sit in my comfortable home on my comfortable couch with the world at my fingertips and can't think of a thing for which to be grateful. In 3 days a holiday of gratitude will be upon us and I can't think of one thing I haven't already mentioned in 128 entries. I know there are many, but the mind refuses to focus.

Only 128 in 52 weeks.

I can name other things effortlessly -- the error, the less than perfect, the negative. But I stumble and stutter to name the gifts. The graces.

The treasures. And there are so many.

What seemed so simple is indeed profound. In my silence, I discover my need to see, to hear, to NAME.

Or, perhaps, the seeing and hearing rise from the naming.

Dare I try again?

I name:

preparing a Thanksgiving meal for my family,

sitting down to a meal together,


conversation around the table,

memories of past Thanksgivings,

the sunrise that dispels the dark,



the moon that lights the night,


the electricity that powers our well and the oven,

the smell and feel of a good book,


time to be alone and think,


the realization of my poverty,

the joy of naming.

"But the love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear him." Psalm 103:17 NLT

holy experience