Thursday, November 27, 2008

Quyyatigiga...

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I've been taking a Conversational Inupiaq course this fall...via teleconference. Yeah. Learning a new language is challenging enough. Learning a new language over the telephone is downright amusing. Although I don't see myself emerging from the course a fluent speaker by any estimation, it has definitely been a good experience and I've picked up a great deal that I hope to build on in the future.

Our last class focused on words and phrases associated with Quyyavik, or Thanksgiving. Our instructor asked us to share what we were most thankful for. One by one, participants shared their blessings. Quyyatigiga iglukput...I'm thankful for my home. Quyyatigiga savagviga...I'm thankful for my job. Quyyatigiga avilaitqatiga...I'm thankful for my closest friend. I can't write "I'm thankful for my family" in Inupiaq because it requires a letter that is impossible to type with this program (a combination of n and g), but you get the idea. We all shared our thoughts and the sources of our gratitude.

All week long, I listened to people around me naturally talking about the things in their lives that they cherish. Prayers were given, feasts were eaten. Dishes were washed, dried, and put away. Yet, there was something in the back of my mind that I just couldn't express, something for which I'm grateful that wouldn't lend itself to words, much less an Inupiaq translation.

Then I looked back through some photos that I downloaded a while ago and it hit me. This is what I'm most grateful for.

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About a week ago I made some soup using one of those packages that boasts 16 different beans. Somewhere in the process of washing the beans, one of the tiniest ended up stuck to the side of the strainer in the sink. I'm not sure what it says about my housekeeping practices, but that bean must have remained there for several days being doused by the occasional flow of water from the faucet. I never even noticed it until the strainer happened to shift a little, exposing the seedling that you see in the photo.

At first, I laughed right out loud. Then amazement set in. Those of you who know me are painfully aware, I'm sure, that I make mountains out of molehills on a regular basis. I know it sounds crazy, but I don't care. Seeing this little plant was an encouragement and it illustrates something that I'm grateful for, but haven't been able to describe.

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Too often, I complain when my life feels hard or dry. I complain when I feel insignificant, lacking purpose. I complain when an unexpected splash sends my good intentions down the drain. I grow weary; I grow sad and I complain.

Homes, jobs, friends, even family...almost anything can be lost or out of reach.

But the tiny bean clinging to my sink strainer reminded me of something important that I often forget. I am overwhelmingly thankful for life's tenacious potential. The tenacity that prompts me to reach up and dig deep even when...especially when...light and soil seem far away.

So, to the One who has endowed even the most insignificant beans with that tenacious potential, with all my heart...

Quyyatigiga.

13 comments:

Jackie said...

INSPIRING! Thank you for sharing your thoughts of Thanksgiving so beautifully. I am sure thankful for a sister like you. Love, Jackie

Karen said...

This is a wonderful writing. Thanks so much for reminding us of this

Kimberlee said...

Jackie...
Thank you. I am so very, very grateful for you as well! I hope you had a great Thanksgiving.


Karen...
Thanks so much for your kind and encouraging comment. I hope you'll visit again!

Barnaby Capel-Dunn said...

Kimberlee
Thank you so much for your beautiful post. All I can say in my current state of disarray is that you express better than I ever could what I am feeling at the moment.
So now you've got a 64-year-old English fan living in France!
Barnaby

Kimberlee said...

Barnaby...

Hello! And thanks for sharing your thoughts. I hope you'll visit again very soon. I'm curious about which part of France you live in. I spent a VERY short week in Paris and Tours several years ago. It was wonderful.

Steve said...

I like that, Kimberlee! Thanks for writing and showing the photos.

So, how was the soup?

Kimberlee said...

Hi, Steve.
The soup was actually pretty good. I called it my "experimental everything-but-the-kitchen-sink soup" meaning that the assortment of 16 different beans was just the tip of the iceberg. :)

It's good to hear from you!

Robert said...

Wonderful bean story, Kimberlee. I am reminded of the lesson that I wanted Josh to take with him from our visit to the high desert southwest several years ago about the tenacity of life in difficult situations. We took a picture of a seedling tree clinging with all its might to a perch in a crack in the canyon wall where it could catch the odd bits of detritus and moisture that would trickle down to it now and then. Whatever it takes. BTW, Josh is Ami's half brother and I am her stepfather. Love your blog and pix. Happy New Year. Robert Glassman

Kimberlee said...

Hey, nice to meet you Robert. Ami is a very special person, so I'm happy to know anyone connected to her! :) It's an honor to have you reading my blog and I'm very happy to know that you're enjoying it. Happy New Year to you and yours and thanks for saying hello!

Rose Mary said...

Kimberlee,

You've done it again! You put "it" into such beautiful words and had the best photo to go with it all. Thank you for sharing. Sorry, I haven't had the chance to get to the internet of late and see all your creations on your blog. I love you and your words!

Kimberlee said...

RM...
Thank you for your encouragement! I'm never sure how my crazy thoughts will translate once they're "out there," so it means a lot to know that you (and others) find meaning there. :) I appreciate you taking the time to read and share your thoughts.

S N B said...

Honey, you live in the dark! Seeing the bright side of anything takes more effort. Therefore, you are allowed to complain!

Kimberlee said...

LOL! That's so funny! Thank you for the understanding and encouragement. Surprisingly (not), the Christmas break has done wonders for my attitude. Fancy that! :)