Sunday, August 5, 2012

well living

Not a shred of evidence exists in favor of the idea that life is serious. - Brendan Gill


This is probably the main reason I've managed to stay happy most of my life...because I just don't take it all that seriously. I'm a worrier, and I find plenty to stress about but am, for the most part, blissfully ignorant. For example: I can find great excitement in watching bread rise in the oven and not really care that the kitchen is still covered in flour. Instead of focusing on the pillow-stuffing strewn about the room, I choose to see a very guilty looking dog and my heart can't help but grow a few sizes. Sometimes I pick clothes up off the floor and wear them...to church. I've left clothes out on the line overnight and they've gotten rained on, I choose to believe God felt sure they needed another rinsing. It's never mattered to me what brand is on my pants, my purse, my shoes or even my car. I actually worry about people who find these things important. 


A life lived in oblivion does have it's downfalls. Sometimes us flibbertigibbets forget to plan for the future. We lose our keys and hairbrushes. We can't ever find a pen or even balance our checkbooks correctly. Sometimes, instead of doing the dishes, we just take a nap on the couch or go for a walk or draw a picture of a bird or write a blog. We are usually messy and absent-minded. Whenever pointing out our flaws, we like to generalize and use the pronouns, "us" and "we" instead of "I". 


I'm not sure what a perfect life would look like. It is different for everybody I guess. For some, it is ordered and planned and well-thought out. For others, it is simply getting up in the morning and savoring all the day has to bring. 


I have discovered something about living well and being happy; it sometimes makes people not like you. When my kids would come to me (and sometimes still do) and vent about some difficult person giving them grief over one thing or another, I would always tell them, "they are probably just miserable and want you to be too. Pray for them and you'll feel better about it". When a person is happy and content with their own life, usually they are happy that you're happy too. When somebody is discontent in their life, they think it unfair for you to be content and attempt to rain on your parade. True? Am I wrong on this one? There have been seasons in my own life where I've been in a slump or not feeling great and some sunshiny Polyanna starts singing "tiptoe through the tulips" and I just want to smack em. I think it has something to do with physics, or chemistry...maybe algebra? 


In 8 months, I'll be 40 years old and it feels like I'm just beginning to figure life out and become who I'm supposed to be. I've been faced with things I never thought I'd have to face. Sad things, scary things, uncomfortable realities. While I've been tra-la-la-ing through life and not taking it seriously, I've gotten older and somehow managed to neglect saving for a retirement. We've always just figured we'd be able to work and make a living on the farm. (did I do that pronoun shift again?) There is no argument or reasoning that not planning or saving is somehow ok. Not to the realist anyway. So, I'm starting where I am and, where I am is living well. I can't take my heart and soul to a place where my focus is solely about money. My focus is and always will be about living. People have responsibilities, yes, but where does responsibility stop and living begin? Sure, there can be a balance and that is what I'm aiming for.


I always pray the Lord's prayer because it gives me such comfort and because sometimes, it's all I can think to pray. Give us this day our daily bread, it says. Don't worry about tomorrow, Jesus tells us. One of my favorite scriptures is in 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12...Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.  I've always had everything I've ever needed. I've worried myself sick about tomorrows and they've yet to strangle me and kill me. I am not dependent on anybody, except my husband. My CHOICE is to be content. Retirement or not, savings or not, clean house or not, checklist complete or not. Please don't misunderstand me and think that I'm always a big ball of sunshine and daisies because I am human and, I have hormones. 


My belief is that, no matter what life throws at me or what sadness or stress I endure, I am loved completely and unconditionally by God, the creator of the heavens and earth (and of sunshine and daisies). Who could be miserable knowing that? 


Now, I will go do my dishes...or start on that bird drawing. 






  

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