Saturday, September 15, 2007


It's beautiful here in Georgia today. The heatwave of the last couple months has finally broken and the blistering oppression of the sun has softened into a gentle enveloping warmth. I had almost forgotten what a friend it's embrace can be. Last night's long awaited rains have left everything misty, and bushes sparkle with drying raindrops. On days like today, it's hard for me to imagine that anyone could question the existence of God. My own heart reaches for someone to thank for the beauty that seems suddenly intrinsic in everything around me. And I offer a private benediction to my Father, one that is long past due. In the calm of this morning, the things I am thankful for suddenly seem limitless. A list too long to number.

I come inside to sit at my kitchen table, as I do every morning. Wrapping my hands around the warmth of my favorite coffee cup I look wearily at the crumbs and spills trailed across the table. The worship of the moment before begins to fade as I feel a well-known irritation start to creep into my consciousness.

Suddenly I am hit with a pang of awareness and remorse at the grumbling I engage in each day.


How can I sit at this table each morning and see the crumbs waiting to be cleaned, and not the five other seats that will, later that day, be filled by people I love? People (my husband, my children) I prayed for long before we ever met. Each of them an answer to a prayer. How can I walk into this kitchen and grumble? How is it I see only the peeling wallpaper and dirty cabinets and not notice that everywhere, stashed in every nook and corner are fragments of the love my life is full of:

A coffeemaker my mother gave me for Christmas even though it was over her budget. Because I really wanted it.

A highchair where my two babies ate each meal. Milestones were reached in that chair and some may yet be.

A pottery bowl on my counter, carried back from Germany by my dearest friend when she came back home where she belonged.

A fridge wallpapered with photographs of smiling friends, and children. Beautiful children, I have been blessed enough to love. And artwork drawn by little people with clumsy hands. And hearts still too young to know hate or unforgiveness.

Wineglasses I bought to host a celebration for a friend who just found out she would be a mother.

A little indoor grill my husband, my lover, my harbor, uses to make his lunch every single day.

A needlepoint picture it took my friend two years to make, just for me.

Dishes waiting to be washed from a meal I never once had to worry would be sufficient to feed my family.

A calendar, overflowing with appointments, lunch dates, meetings, practices and rehearsals, each of them representing, a passion, a need, a desire, a talent of the people who carry my heart in their pockets.

And everywhere I look, greasy grey smudges. A finger here. A palm there. By the entryway door an entire hand has left it's mark. A tiny hand. One I hold so often in my own because it's too small to walk alone.

And crumbs.

Crumbs from a late night snack my daughter ate with her friend, while they giggled together; and I watched them with a smile and the wistful memory of the unbridled joy of being eleven.

Lord forgive me for walking into this room. This sanctum of our family. This shrine to the chaotic beauty you have filled our lives with, and seeing only crumbs.


painted maypole said...

a beautiful reminder... thanks

Lori said...

Me too. Forgive me too.

Some days I spend way too much time noticing crumbs.

Chrissy said...

I could barely finish reading this for the tears welling up. You put your finger on the exact truth in this post. I do the same thing with my family, with my home. It's so easy to look at the tasks, the work, the burden of our families and homes when they are truly just a huge blessing. Thank you for reminding me.

Beck said...

This was SO lovely. I feel like printing it out and keeping it on my fridge, to remind me.

slouching mom said...

Yes. Exactly the heart of it, Joy. It's too easy to notice the crumbs.


Sarah said...

Wow, that was beautiful. I had tears rnning down my face by the time I finished. Partly b/c of the sentiment, but also b/c I am so guilty of grumbling when I should be content. God is so faithful..I know this and yet it's somehow easier to complain than to praise.

I'm the hospitality coordinator of my MOPS group. If you don't mind, I'd love to read this at our next meeting.

erin k said...

Thank you Joy. Just what I needed this Sunday morning.

Anonymous said...

That was a lovely post, thank you and it will be a reminder for me when starting the new week!

Veronica Mitchell said...

Uncomfortably true.

Veronica Mitchell said...

I just added a link to this at The Common Room for a blog post that touched me this week. Hope you don't mind.

Kyla said...

Lovely, lovely. And so true.

Christine said...

oh joy! this so touched me. i need to go hug my littlest mess maker and send out thanks to the universe for him, his sister, my husband, my sister, my mom, my friends. . .you.

spaz said...

I'm humming The Thankfulness Song (Veggie Tales).
"I thank God for this day,
For the sun in the sky,
For my mom and my dad,
For my piece of apple pie!

For our home on the ground,
For His love that's all around,
That's why I say thanks every day! Because a thankful heart is a happy heart!
I'm glad for what I have,
Thats an easy way to start!

For the love that He shares,
'Cause He listens to my prayers,
That's why I say thanks every day!" Aren't ya glad you can't actually hear me sing?

Lisa writes... said...


childlife said...

Oh, wow Joy - that hit home. I had a psychotic meltdown last night about those very same crumbs. Your post had me in tears... You are right, there is so much more to see and to value. Thanks for the beautifully written wake-up call.

Sarah said...

Tonight, after work, as I enter my kitchen, I am going to look at it through your eyes, Joy.

And not notice the crumbs.

Thank you.

Laurel Wreath said...

new to your blog, this is BEAUTIFUL. Thank you for the reminder.

gail said...

i loved this post! it was so what i needed for this week. so i linked to it at my blog hope that's ok.