The Thursday Three • August 26, 2021
Way back in 2016, I started a weekly email newsletter called The Thursday Three. Each Thursday, I offered three things that had caught my attention that week and helped me find the sacred in the ordinary. Whether an article, a podcast, a song, a poem, or something else entirely, these three things not only kept my preaching and teaching fresh but also helped me experience the holy in places I wasn't expecting. It ran for about a year(?), and then I lost the magic of it. I became more focused on increasing the number of subscribers and building a brand. I put pressure on myself to deliver new, fresh content every week. It wasn’t fun anymore. But people still tell me how much they appreciated The Thursday Three and how much they miss it — even four and five years later…which blows my mind a little.
As I relaunch a blog and a digital presence on the web (glad you’re here, btw), I’m finding myself drawn back to this idea of sharing The Thursday Three on a semi-regular basis. Maybe with a little less structure. (I used to make sure all three connected in some way.) Maybe not every Thursday. (I wasn’t much fun to be around on Wednesday nights staring at a blank screen trying to find a third thing.) But with this same intention — to share some of the things I’m digging and to help you find some meaning and margin, too.
So here are three things I’ve been digging this week.
+ Article • “The Power of Upward Spirals”
My friend Matt turned me on to Ingrid Fetell Lee’s work on joy. I haven’t read her book yet (it’s on my list), but I’ve subscribed to her email newsletter for a while. This one hit me because I’m really good at downward spirals. As an Enneagram 3, I go hard into my four-wing. I spiral often, and when I do, it’s always downward. For instance, I wake up in the middle of the night, and I remember that I forgot to send that email that I woke up thinking about last night. Because of this, that person will no longer rely on me and I will be uninvited from the thing they were going to invite me to. My reputation will be ruined, and I’ll have to change careers… Day in the life. It was such grace to read that I’m not alone in that.
But I’d never even considered that an upward spiral could be a thing until I read this.
Instead of thinking of a moment of joy as too much effort or a pointless waste of time in a hectic day, it would be more accurate to see it as the first link in a chain reaction. It may take some energy to kick it off, but once in motion an upward spiral has its own momentum, sending ever-widening positive ripples throughout our lives. All we need to do is get it started."
So how do you start? Ingrid gives some tips. Check it out here.
+ Podcast • Revisionist History: “The Little Mermaid”
Malcolm Gladwell did a three-part podcast series on Disney’s The Little Mermaid, and I knew the movie was problematic, but I didn’t know it was this bad. This podcast series features a fascinating deep dive into how we’re shaped by the narratives we consume, the nature and purpose of the law, the way stories have been written and told in different eras, and more. There’s a lot of good stuff here. But then, for the finale, Malcolm Gladwell works with some friends to make The Little Mermaid better. (And they actually do!)
Listen to the first of three parts here.
+ Book • Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini
The images and events out of Afghanistan have been nothing short of horrific. Like many of you, I’ve spent the last few weeks listening to stories of those who have lived there. I’ve prayed. I’ve lamented. I’ve wondered how I can help. I’ve tried to understand how we got here. My heart breaks for those who are watching the lives they knew vanish, forced to flee their homes.
And it all reminded me of a beautifully illustrated and powerful book given to me a few years ago. It’s called Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini, and it features the fictional words of a father to his son as they prepare to flee the home they once knew and step into a new, uncertain future.
I’ve heard it said we are the uninvited.
We are the unwelcome.
We should take our misfortune elsewhere.
But I hear your mother’s voice,
over the tide,
and she whispers in my ear,
“Oh, but if they saw, my darling.
Even half of what you have.
If only they saw.
They would say kinder things, surely.
You can find the book here (Amazon, Bookshop), and for an enhanced experience, check out this 360 YouTube video with narration and illustration.
Which of these three resonated with you? What have you been into this week? Email me here. And if you want more of this each week, hit the Subscribe button.