Gratitude is Subversive

“He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”  – Matthew 13:33

“Gratitude quiets the mind and brings us back to source, stimulating our empathy and confidence.” Joana Macy, Coming Back to Life: The Guide to the Work that Reconnects 

The yeast in Jesus’ brief parable isn’t the yeast we find today in powdery little packets at the Piggly Wiggly. The leavening agent he is talking about was a fermenting bit of dough saved over from previous baking, then hidden and kneaded into the flour to make bread. Throughout much of Hebrew and Christian scripture, leaven has negative connotations associated with corruption and sin, but Jesus says the yeast is good! Not only good, but like the kingdom of heaven. 

Experiencing and expressing gratitude for being queer, an essential ingredient of our sacred worth, is a radical reorientation that frees us to fully experience God’s glorious kin-dom. 

Why do I say gratitude is subversive? Because gratitude subverts the myth of scarcity trying to convince me that I don’t have enough, I don’t do enough…I am not enough. When I practice gratitude every day, building my heart’s muscle memory for what is good and true in my life, I reject the dominant narrative of toxic capitalism that needs me to fill the ache of not enough by buying more, doing more and working more. And the most subversive gratitude of all is when I express deep gratitude for the gift of being queer and a person of faith. Not “struggling with my sexuality,” not searching in anguish for reconciliation, but sincerely, joyfully grateful for an amazing gift!

What am I grateful for? 

I am grateful for a body that comes alive at my wife’s slightest touch. I am grateful for a heart made to love a woman. I am grateful for a mind curious enough to search for meaning. I am grateful for eyes that are able to see a kaleidoscope of suffering in the world. I am grateful for a spirit yearning to be a balm for broken hearts. I am grateful for the extravagant love of family and friends who’ve taken risks to love and affirm me when others walked away. 

Practicing gratitude for little things builds the heart’s muscle memory for joy and resilience, so let’s get started.

Creator of love
Redeemer of love
Sustainer of love
Awaken my heart
That I may notice,
appreciate, and savor
the blessed assurance 
of your Infinite Affection
for all of creation.
Even me.

Download and print the gratitude writing prompt.