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The Book Thief
One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
On Gold Mountain
Bread & Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter
City of Tranquil Light: A Novel
The Distant Land of My Father
The Paris Wife
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
Fall of Giants
World Without End
A Stolen Life
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption
The Pillars of the Earth
Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation
The Road
Trials of the Earth: The Autobiography of Mary Hamilton
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal
Cutting for Stone

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Entries in courage (1)


well hello cynic

In digging around for gratitude, I have been introduced to the cynic within. 

After the first dramatic entry in my gratitude journal, I had a hard time finding the second entry. 

Something surprising showed up. The cynic. Now few people would label me a cynic including myself. So this shocked me. And instructed me. 

Insomnia heralded the cynic. After an hour in the bed checking the clock at 4 minute intervals, I finally gave up and got up. It was 2:30 a.m. I wrote the post about 1000 gifts #1 being underwear, folded clothes, read some blogs. At 4:00 a.m. the birds started singing. Normally this would indicate the dawn of a new day and new mercies but to the red-eyed and bedraggled, the birds spotlighted the fact that sleep had eluded me.

I uttered: #2. the birds singing at 4:00 a.m. I suppose it was the sarcastic tone that gave up the cynic, undetectable in these black and white words. Nonetheless, gratitude did not live in the text. 

The cynic looks like Randall from Monster’s Inc. A chameleon, he shows up dressed in camouflage wherever hope may flicker. He’s a fast-talker, sell you some dirt in the Mississippi Delta-type. He’s a survivor. We all have a little cynic in us. It’s one way we make life work apart from a grace banquet.

Cynicism works on hope much like the fly zapper. Like the fly, hope meets a quick and certain death. Gruesome even. The electric current of the cynic nukes hope before it has a chance to bloom. Why? Because hope is a scary thing to the cynic. Hope has often been met by disappointment. The cynic chooses to remain safe and lifeless instead of reaching for hope.

When several other “entries” showed up in this sarcastic cynical voice, I started to pay attention. The grateful words did not drip from my pen like I thought they would. I honestly searched for my own voice and not Vosskamp’s sometimes syrupy “bands of garnet, cobalt, flowing luminous” aka a soap bubble. 

And so it is with honesty that I will proceed in the hunt for 1000 gifts. And with courage that I will tame and parent the cynic.

9. Sam’s indomitable smirk after he zapped a fly at 6:55 a.m.

(Note: Vosskamp identifies her own “Pollyanna” language and takes us deeper into her heart. Her journey inspires mine.)