Gratitude

“Thank you. Thank you,” she’d say,
offering her soft spoken hymn of praise to you
with each step she took.
Ninety seven, clutching walker,
while I held onto her,
she walked in thankful wonder
like a toddler taking first steps with glee.
Each step a gift, counted.
Walker steadied and grounded her body in motion
while her thanksgiving steadied and grounded her spirit
in the here and now flow of grace.

I lost count of how many of these short walks we took
that last sweet year of her life,
saying our thank yous to you out loud
down the hall and back.
But they were many and enough to echo in my cells
and to raise up in me from time to time
this simple hymn of praise.

“Thank you. Thank you.”
I find myself whispering to you
over and over throughout the day,
noticing how my eyes open to the outpouring
of grace and blessing in every moment,
how I feel myself carried in the current of your joy,
how I am able to use this walker of gratitude
to steady and ground heart and mind, body and soul
in your glorious presence with us here and now.

Thank you. Thank you.

——

I will praise God’s name in song and
glorify him with thanksgiving.
Psalm 69:30

From Heaven at my Door by Juanita Ryan

This Life

This life I claim as mine,
hold onto
and defend,
is a gift,
entrusted for a time,
given, breath-by-breath
by you.

It is a vessel
carved rough
and beautiful
for you
to pour yourself into
and overflow from,
for your joy
and mine
and others.

It is a gift I cannot
truly receive,
you whisper repeatedly,
until I release my grip
and let it go to you.
Help me
as I open hands and heart
to release
and receive
your gift again.

——

For whoever wants to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for me will save it.
Luke 9:24

From Heaven at my Door by Juanita Ryan