figuring it out…

IMG_0377One month ago, today, I turned 38. I always believed that by the time I reached such a ripe-old-age, I would have stuff figured out. By stuff, of course, I mean pretty much everything. Not surprisingly, (and I say not surprisingly because I know me) I wake up some mornings and realize I might be farther from that place than ever. I’m also pretty sure, on those days, that the times when I feel like I’ve got a good handle on things, I’m just majorly full of crap.

My birthday happens to fall forty days before my husband’s. This wasn’t something I was really aware of until I decided to shower him with gifts, love and attention in the forty days preceding his fortieth birthday and that just happened to begin on mine. {for the record, this was an accidental detail I happened to love.}

Sidenote: this 40 day journey has been one of the most fun birthday things that I’ve ever done and it has turned out way better than I expected. I seriously recommend it.

Yesterday his “gift” (I say “gift” because no one needs forty new things. Some have been new things, but sometimes it’s something special to do, that he really loves. Or one day it was a totally unexpected surprise party, that blew him away.) was his favorite homemade cookies and a Star Trek marathon. This was actually a huge gesture on my part because, though I love him so incredibly, I’ve watched each of those movies with him once or twice and it’s been YEARS, and these viewings never occurred simultaneously. Star Trek just isn’t my thing, but it is his. Mind you, he doesn’t own a suit, speak Klingon, go to conventions or want memorabilia, but he loves The Next Generation and he loves the movies.

While he sat, blissfully lost in the galaxy (or is it another galaxy? I just don’t get it.) I baked cookies, cleaned the kitchen, meal planned, did laundry, made an amazing dinner (something I don’t do often enough, these days) and managed to stay engaged enough to the movies to know what was happening. I was tempted to feel guilty that so much productivity was happening, in my home, on a Sunday. As I sat there, processing those ideas, I questioned where that guilt came from. If I were to be honest with myself, I’d admit that I really love our laundry getting done on Sunday afternoons. I love the house getting whipped into shape on Sunday, everyone pulling their part. While I’m not one who enjoys baking, I even liked the idea of baking cookies for lunches and to have on hand for a few after school snacks, for the weekdays. The big Sunday dinner was also nice, and something we hardly ever do. We savored bites of grilled pork chops, mashed sweet potatoes and roasted brussels sprouts. While the food tasted delicious, is it silly to think it tasted better because it was a Sunday, and because it followed (for me) a day of productivity and success?

Over Lent I gave up reading fiction and focussed on reading good for my heart books. My motivation was that I knew I had things I needed to learn/relearn/realize and I tend to hide away in fiction and buy books like that because they sound “amazing”, and then allow them to stack up. The end result was my mind was reshaped in several areas, I learned a ton, my perspective changed/shifted on many things and I wrote at least a thousand quotes that felt to my parched soul like cool drinks of water. Yesterday, as I struggled with some self-imposed guilt over Sunday productivity, and my enjoyment from it, one particular quote/idea that I read along the way came to mind. I believe it was by Emily P. Freeman. (and I am absolutely paraphrasing) She was talking about how true worship of  God was being present and engaged in whatever we were doing in that moment. Whether it was something wonderful and artistic, or some monotonous chore. This really hit me hard, and I have been trying to be fully present and engaged in what I do. I can see how there is no better act of gratitude than that, and also no great gesture of humility than to give your all and best to something as lowly as scrubbing the toilet and painting a mural. Not surprisingly, yesterday is a great example. Not only did it turn out to be a pretty great day for me, I’m sure that was absolutely because I engaged in my life and lived it. Even the stuff that’s not my favorite…

I may not have it all figured out yet, but one month later, I’m at least a little closer…

3 thoughts on “figuring it out…

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