Thursday afternoon found me standing at the kitchen sink for the second time in as many weeks, engaged in old-school housekeeping. Last week, the washing machine soap drawer jammed, and my lovely front-loader was reduced to rinse-and-spin capabilities. I washed bibs and delicates that were easy to ring and hard to do without (for such is life with my little spit-up queen), and waited for the repairman to call me back. This week, I was washing dishes in my old-fashioned dishpan, an heirloom usually saved for washing babies or catching fresh-milled apple sauce, waiting for the sink to drain. It took nearly three extra-large jugs of liquid plumber, but the flesh-and-blood plumber wasn't called.
I check Lisa-Jo's site for Five-Minute-Friday's word of the week before tumbling into bed. It's "gratitude". Ugh. Nope, don't like that word. Not today. It grates, it begrudges, don't you know the week I've had?
Gratitude, gratefulness. Getting better. Thankfulness, eucharist. Ah. That, I can get behind. Somethings just sound better in Greek.
Chrysostom begins the Eucharistic Canon with a call to attend and offer oblation in peace. The faithful respond with a couple sentence fragments that always left me baffled: "A mercy of peace. A sacrifice of praise."
How does one sacrifice praise? Isn't praise a verb? How does one give an action to the Creator?
The liturgical dance continues: "Let us give thanks unto the Lord."
"It is meet and right to worship the Father, Son and Holy Spirit..."
So to give thanks is to worship. To worship is to remind oneself of who God really is. Is to sacrifice praise to see the blessing when it's easier to see the complaint?
My old-fashioned homemaker days were the only open window days with bitter weather in between. Without those chores before me, I wouldn't have stood so long in that breeze. My reports of automatic laundry loss were met with an offer of manual help instead. My mother-in-law played laundromat. The most needed loads got done.
There was money in the budget to forgo making lunch on Thursday. I took the kids for brunch at Cora's. They behave beautifully, considering their ages. They ate, didn't yell, and the baby slept right on. I wouldn't have tried it on a normal day. I'm glad for the memory. We had leftovers for supper. The microwave still works. So does the dishwasher. The dishes didn't pile up.
It's odd to think of the ordinary blessings as being praiseworthy. Like Jonah, I'm too quick to complain that the miraculous plant has been eaten. I'm left in the sun like I would have been without the intervention I didn't notice. There was no thanks given when the soap drawer slid open and the dish water swirled and sucked into a funnel down the drain. I didn't notice the twenty minutes the baby played quietly by herself, but I sure noticed the minute her cries interrupted my revery.
Our brains filter out the usual and hone in on the novel. It's easy to see the little ill sticking out of the sea of good. It takes effort to not ignore my abundant, mundane, daily blessings. It's hard to work to see, to acknowledge, to give thanks.
A sacrifice of praise.
N.B. This was way more than five minutes, but still fairly freely written fare. See what other brave writers did with "grateful"(looks like I misremembered. Sorry!) over at Five-Minute-Fridays here.