Thankful Thursday: Shabby Corner

We can never quite be sure which things we have done and which things we have failed to do, the difference between how we long for the world to be and how it must be a kind of crucifixion in the darkest, most excruciating depths of which we discover it’s not that there’s not enough beauty; it’s that there’s so much it can hardly be borne.

Monday morning, putting out the garbage as the sky turns pink above the salmon stucco facades, I bend my face to the gardenia in the courtyard, knowing that every shabby corner, every bird and flower and blade of grass, every honking horn and piece of graffiti, every pain and contradiction, deserves a song of praise.

Heather King

from The Closest to Love We Ever Get, an essay
published in Portland magazine, and reprinted
in 2008 Best American Spiritual Writing.

Sometimes you read a passage or a paragraph, and you experience a ping of recognition. Something deep in your bones registers, aches, adjusts, and says yes. Days later you are wading into the words, picking through the placement, examining the texture and tone, pulling at the seams of pace and place. You are making copies and sharing with friends.* The Closest to Love We Ever Get, an essay by Heather King, has haunted me for weeks.

On this Thankful Thursday I am thankful for this essay, and for the unbelievable ability of words — just words, really — to shake, wake, move and soothe.

It's Thankful Thursday. Please join me in a weekly pause to express appreciation for people, places, things and more. What are you thankful for today?


* What to read this essay? Email me with your address, and I'll pop it in the old-fashioned, envelope-with-stamp mail,