“Mom, you need to write on your blog so I can read it,” said Lydia recently.
[ I smiled. : D I have a following. ]
Today while scribbling in my journal, my pen drew an arrow from the printed page to the virtual screen.
This one’s for you, my sweet reader, Lydia . . . and all the rest of you out there in bloggyland.
* * * * *
Time Out. Time Off. Time Away.
Time for Joy.
I’ve rattled, racked, and wrung my heart, mind, and spirit lately. So much to process, decipher, prepare, deliver . . . The world spins so out of control these days and I am simply trying to live without succumbing to dizziness and fatigue. I’ve found a simple antidote: Joy.
Today, I’m taking a time out, for some time off, with some time away from my regularly-scheduled ways and making time to stop, look, and listen to all the joy in and around me. I want to really drink it in and hold onto that feeling of sweet peace that comes from knowing I can relax and live life rather than exhaust myself by wrangling it into a corral for safe keeping.
The sunshine outside and the roaring fire within make me smile at the crazy way a California Winter behaves. I love the sunshine! It’s so much easier to face the chilly morn when rays of gold greet me: a picture of hope. But I must admit, my favorite time of day is sunset. Maybe it’s because I am a squeeze-the-last-drop-out-of kinda gal. I can be brutal on an exhausted tube of toothpaste or beauty cream; I turn each liquid receptacle for shampoo or detergent on end into a funnel before retiring it to the recycle bin; and I watch movies until the last credit rolls. I guess I’m a pretty committed “finisher.” I like tidy. I get a “thrill” out of finding a place for everything and then putting everything in its place. Thus, it is with great surprise that I find myself becoming such a free-spirited dreamer these days.
Nowadays, my children often find me embroiled in a book, hunched over a writing project, or simply gazing out into the great beyond, whilst a pile of dishes tip precariously in the sink awaiting attention. What has happened to Miss Tidy-up? Has she retired? Has she lost her mind? Has she been taken over by sloppy aliens?
I, too, wonder where that other gal vanished to (usually when an unpleasant task crops up in my path). It seems mid-life has crept up and encouraged me to pry open new doors and venture out into greater fields of freedom. I plunge into life with more honesty and openness, more readiness to reach out and embrace life and all those within it. Where fear once dogged my steps, I now dance with such crazy abandon these days that I think fear finds it harder to follow me. (Who knew freedom thwarted fear?)
To what do I attribute this influx of . . . well . . . ummmmmm . . . joy? I’m not really sure, but I know it has to do with letting go the reins of control and allowing life to wash over me without fearing what might come my way. Sometimes I stumble, often times I fail, and sometimes big unexpected things knock me off my feet and swirl me around in salty waves of tears; but fear and fret make me tense and cause additional pain, so I'm learning to relax and just let it come – I simply hold out my hand and trust . . . that God is good.
The results of this zany abdication of the foolish notion that I can control my destiny (and the destinies of those I love) speak through my experience.
I no longer fear rejection, for I have been rejected in the most devastating way and not only survived, but flourished.
I no longer fear loss, for I have lost a child to death and discovered that he will never truly be gone from my heart and that is where the best of life collects.
I have known poverty, and found the "fear" of poverty to be more overwhelming that the actual state of being without.
I have known financial bounty, and found the "thought" of riches to be far more enjoyable than the actual care and feeding of a bank balance.
I have told lies for protection, and found myself imprisoned until the truth set me free.
I have compromised to save a friendship, and ended up losing both my good name and the friend.
I have failed to notice a needy one in my very midst, and then needed to fail in order to correct my vision.
I have been blind, deaf, and dumb as I strove for knowledge, and then discovered the greatest gift of insight when I admitted my ignorance.
I have learned that a smile serves as the shortest path to an attitude change. Like a single candle in the darkness, a simple smile changes an entire face and everything it sees.
I have learned that “The Smile Game” (also known as: Smile at everyone you encounter) can be played anywhere, anytime, with anyone and WE BOTH WIN EVERY TIME!
Most of all, I have learned that I will learn something new every day, every hour, every minute of my life (good and bad, pleasant and painful, abundant and barren . . . ) if I keep my heart at the ready to love, accept, and share every single thing my Lord sends my way. How can I be so sure? How do I know this? Madeleine L’Engle said it best:
Now I see that time has gotten away from me, caught up with me, and called out to remind me:
Now it's Time For:
Time for Joy!
Before I go, I was wondering . . .
Does any one care to join me for a rousing round of
The Smile Game?