Choosing life again and again

It’s been three days and at night I can still hear, “Move your arms like Henry….” and “Dorothy, Dorothy…..would you like to dance with me.” And that’s okay because at 13 she still loves the Wiggles. I love that they are not afraid to include “Away in a Manger” and call it Christmas. She has a mad crush on Murray Wiggle who she says is her boyfriend. He might be a Grandpa by now in real life and no longer on the show, but she doesn’t know and I would never tell her. I want to cry when I hear the songs because I miss her.

We got to celebrate my Mom’s 87th Birthday wearing clown noses during the Birthday song and lit a cake made from scratch by a dear friend who whispered “Do you think she would mind the Dinosaurs on it?” I said no, she’d love it. She did.

We also got to attend church, Mom and Dad and my brother and I on Palm Sunday, something we hadn’t done together in a long while. That was a blessing.

As with every family visit, there are people left out and things that go awry. Some things don’t go as planned. Mom’s heartbeat was erratic and she was not feeling well some of the time. Dad’s knee was flaring up and I went with him to the Doctor to get a shot and it was better by the end of the week.

There was talk of a “last trip” here or there. They talked too much like the best of their life is over and at 86 and 87 I guess that’s normal but I’m not ready to lose them. There was a moment when my Dad and I walked into Barnes and Noble together where it felt like old times and I wanted to sit there in that moment for a while.

Earlier today in the laundry room, I folded the gloves I took to the snow. I remembered her laughter as she threw snowballs at me and at her Dad. And I remembered my Dad and I, wedged in the backseat started laughing at my seatbelt that was stuck. That was like old times too. We always got in trouble in church for laughing. It strikes me that laughter is one of the things that has kept us all from losing our sanity over deaths and goodbyes and sickness and aging and everything in between. Laughter is one of the things in this life that will follow us to the next, thankfully.

As I write this, I hear it come down just now. The thing I was praying for this morning when I saw the cloudy skies. Just a little sprinkle, I said. Just a little pitter-patter on the roof. And now I have it. Healing for me, rain is. It says that God is still in control, He still cares enough to water the earth and so I have renewed assurance He still cares for us all.

Each day gives us a choice. At every turn in this life there are moments that breathe life and moments that have the foul smell of death. They reside side by side like the wheat and the tares. Each day there are moments bursting with life and moments that threaten to choke it right out of us.

The Bible says, “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” I want to continue to choose life.

I also want to choose love. “Help me Lord to try to see beyond what’s on the surface. Help me to see people how You see them so I can love them better.”

People (and life) will try to steal our joy, but the joy God gives us is eternal and comes from somewhere deeper and older than we know or understand. It was there before all things were set in the act of creation. That joy is real and it’s our gift at redemption. He gives us back what was always meant for us in the first place.

Thank you God for the brief time at the beach. When I am there somehow I get the assurance that things will be okay. They really will.

 

 

The Me I See

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Sometimes, when I am outside of myself looking in, I see the real me not the one I have imagined or invented. And sometimes I don’t recognize that person talking, smiling, interacting with others. But there is someone else I see, just on the fringe of my consciousness, just outside the ring.

Sometimes she hides in the shadows waiting for me to find her, but sometimes she dances into the light just long enough for me to get a glimpse, then she jumps back, ripples of laughter in her wake.

She beckons me with a wave of her hand and when I finally join her, that other me, the one that happens when I am still, or creating, or caught up in catching the stream of life, or praying, that’s when I get in touch with who I really am. I guess when I lose myself is when I find myself. Jesus said something along the same lines. He said, whoever tries to save His life will lose it and whoever loses His life for His sake will find it.

The real me is the one I find without trying. That’s the me I want to be all the time. The me that’s not afraid to bloom, right there in the open.

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I most like myself when I stop thinking about how others perceive me and just be the me God created. In doing that, I enter into Creation with Him and  agree that His plan is good, and that I am good the way He made me, doing what He created me to do.

That’s when I can almost hear the stars sing.

Living starts to be authentic when we let our masks drop. From ourselves…….from each other……and from God. When we no longer have to be afraid to speak for fear of not being loved. Cradled in the circle of grace…..that’s where we all want to live.

When I stop trying so hard to be what this world wants me to be and be the me that God made, there’s a resurrection that happens. In finding the real me, I discover that I am fearfully and wonderfully made by a God who loves me. Running into myself, I can’t help but collide with God too.

This is what Jesus said about that:

I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. John 10: 9

For he who finds me finds life And obtains favor from the LORD. Proverbs 8:35

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. John 14:6

When we find Jesus, my friends, we find life the way it was meant to be lived. We find life, hope, truth; everything that has ever or will ever be good. We find it all when we find Him.

Prayer today: Thank you Lord, for loving me, the real me. Help me to see myself the way you see me. Help me to fall in love with me each and every day, for it’s only when I love and accept myself that I can love others the right way. Help me to forgive myself fully every day for failing myself…..You…..others. Help me to love more. Thank you for the joy I find in creating, for it’s where I can find You. Cover everyone in my circle with Your peace and grace today. Bind us together in love, Lord. Amen.