The phone rings at 6:30am after I have had only five hours’ sleep. The Amos Lee concert still rings in my ears and at first I am confused, groping for the phone across the hardwood floor of the loft.

It’s the manager of the coffeehouse. She’s sick as a dog, can’t work, needs me to pull a double, “will be forever indebted.” I oblige. We are a staff of two, with one extra person who works Saturdays only and another person who is in training for times like this, but isn’t yet ready for a full shift alone at the shop. And so it is.

I decide it will be a joyful day. The clouds are wrapped relentlessly from edge to edge of the horizon and my clothes hang heavy and dripping on the clothesline. In the predawn light the world looks bleary, yet familiar. Oregon is still in my veins and I often take comfort in the rain, each drop resounding down to the earth with an echo of my old home.

I don’t know what I did to deserve such simple pleasures. Don’t know who or how or if I even asked for this life as it is given to me each day. But when I can pull the strength of heart and spirit up out of bed on just five hours’ sleep to a rainy day, when I can push through a double shift and still love nearly every minute of my job, when I can come home and have a glass of wine and push a little bit more to write these words, my faith in the ways of the world thickens with gratefulness.

We move in circles, painting our lives concentrically to the tune of our own hearts. My life in this cabin, this writing life, the friends that surround me, the love that chances my way, all of it coming to fruition in this circle of the present, is humbling enough to make me wish there was a God, so that I had someone to thank. Even when I feel this way, and want to pray if praying was what I did, I am not drawn to the heavens or to my knees. My gratefulness comes in other ways. In the ease of my walk, in an unerring and authentic smile throughout the course of the day, in the swelling I feel around my heart as it opens, unafraid to love and be loved, opening its doors to some kind of heaven, some kind of light, some kind of everlasting hold on all things unsaid. It’s that part of me, right in there, cavernous yet open, that is actually not me at all. It’s something else, something surrendered, something woven out of the silk threads of our common experience. Something to be thankful for.

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