Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Nonconsecutive Gratitude - The Prospect of Learning*

What CAN'T Jeremy Be Grateful For?

On Tuesdays and Thursdays we're gonna answer the question, "How in the world can Jeremy be grateful for _______?" The blank is up to you to fill. Leave your suggestions in the comments below or find me on Instagram @nonconsecutive

There’s a certain feeling that I’ve felt. It’s anticipation ringed with curiosity. It’s very close to the sensation of holding a gift that you’re just about to unwrap. It’s the brink of discovery. There comes a new electricity to the brain and a liveliness to the fingers. The brain may be grappling with the presents possibilities while the fingers pry around the edges of the wrap. It’s the feeling of the lecture hall when the mind is pondering potentials and the hand steadies the pen for the note paper. It’s the hum of the church auditorium when the soul leans-in and the thumb presses the Bible’s pages. You’re about to know something that you didn’t know.

These are the immediate examples, and they are lodged in so many crannies of life. It’s what keeps us turning the pages of a novel. It’s what makes us start the next episode when we’re already up past bedtime. It’s the taste of the new recipe when it’s still a little too hot. It’s walking up to the door for a party when you’ve never been to the house before. It’s a blind date, a how-to video, a letter with a hand-written envelope, and the first day of school. You’re about to find out something that has been essentially a secret.

There’s a slower moving and more nebulous variant. It’s how you know that you’ll get better at billiards if you keep playing. It’s buying a used boat and knowing that you’ll figure out it’s idiosyncrasies. It’s learning the vocabulary and conjugation of a foreign language with the potential to someday be fluent. It’s planting a tree, or planning a vacation, or following a new Instagram account, or buying the cookbook that will eventually lead to the aforementioned singed lips. You’re embarking on a journey that will lead to a revelation.

My wife and I decided to adopt a baby a few years ago. Once the die was cast there was no possibility in our minds of relenting. We didn’t know how long the journey would last or who was waiting for us at the end. We nervously fluttered on the backs of butterflies and we dreamily soared on the wings of eagles. We knew everything we wanted and nothing of what would be. Having agreed to take on a difficult-to-place baby, we had more specifics than one might with a pregnancy. This only provided us more fodder for particular hopes and intentions.

Then the day came. We walked hand in hand up the sidewalk to the agency’s front door. We waited breathlessly on the sofa in the lobby. We walked toward the room with our hearts pounding in our ears. What would we see when we saw him for the first time? And then in an instant the prospect of learning all of these things became the actual knowledge of a tiny beautiful angel. I’m so thankful for the journey of discovery that began and I still have so much curiosity about where we’ll go from here. We live and we learn.

This idea is based on the book 14,000 things to be happy about by Barbara Ann Kipfer

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