Simply put...these are times of great personal growth for me. Not your average "Gee whiz I'm learning a few new things that are stretching me" kind of times, but the "Earthquake moving, hold on to your hat kind of times." These are "WAKE UP" moments of the greatest magnitude.
Here, in no particular order, are a few of my most recent (and often repeated) learnings:
LESSON #1: LIFE IS NOT A DRESS REHEARSAL !
There is NO do over. This is it! This glorious life I am given from God is at once magnificent and short. Very, very short! I remember a profound conversation I had with my Mom. She described the stage of life she was in as she watched her husband and friends die. She very softly said these words to me...."One day honey, it just happens. You start to lose them. But don't let it consume you. They would want you to REALLY live your life since they can't live theirs."
First, Erik Anderson. Then Pat Bartlett. I came home yesterday to see that my dear friend Pat Bartlett had died. On February 6th she was diagnosed with glioblastoma (a rare and aggressive brain cancer) and on February 25th she went home to the Lord.
Are you kidding me??
This healthy marathoner, Harley rider, scuba diver, Bible study leader, business owner who has framed almost every picture I have ever framed in the past 15 years, devoted wife, mother and grandma of 6...was GONE ...in a heartbeat. She wasn't even sick and then BOOM!
So today I am again reminded to love my life, no matter the stressors...love ALL of it... when it glorious, fun, exciting, fulfilling and love it just as much when it is messy, unpredicatable, unnerving, and challenging. This is NOT a dress rehearsal!
LESSON #2: LIVE AS IF YOU HAVE A FULL CUP !
You often hear the question, "Is your cup half empty or half full?" And the notion is that the optimists see their cup as half full, the pessimists see it as half empty.
My take on this? Who wants a half-full cup? Not me! Like Loretta LaRoche, a stress management consultant, I want to say "My cup runneth over!" I want to see all of that abundance slopping over from the brim of my cup!
Some time back Amy taught me the phrase.."Blessed Beyond Measure!" I love to say those words and how I FEEL after I say them. "My cup runneth over" comes straight from the Bible and the phrase ends with..."Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever!" I feel such a sense of peace when this is my outlook.
Right now these are challenging times. It is easy to hear the media messages and align my view of life with the ups and downs of the economy, the roller coaster known as the stock market. My faith, on the other hand, tells me to see EVERYTHING as a gift, an opportunity to learn and rely on God. I want to approach everything in my life from an attitude of ABUNDANCE, not scarcity!
This hasn't been easy lately as I've sat in countless budget cut meetings filled with fear and dread, always concentrating on what will go, not what will stay. I feel at times like a lone voice when I say..."What I know for sure is that we will get through this. We have done this before. We do miracles EVERY day at SCC and money has never been the root of those miracles!"
I am resolved this morning to renew my efforts to live life as if I have a full cup.
LESSON #3: NOW...IS THE TIME FOR BEING IN BALANCE
This weekend I had a massage. The massage therapist, after digging deep for an hour to grind through the knots in my neck and back, kindly whispered..."Are you taking care of yourself?"
The answer, again, is "No, I'm not." The reasons for this dilemma are endless and hollow.
I want to relax more, smile more, spend more time with those I love who also love me! I want to have more FUN! I want to be more patient with others and have more compassion overflowing. I want to rely on God's love and goodness to sustain me, no matter what! I want to worry less and have less stress by turning it all over to Him.
Awhile back I planted indoor spring bulbs and gardening always sooths my soul. The feel of the dirt, the act of planting a bulb, the expectation of seeing a flower...makes me smile as I anticipate seeing new life! The bulbs are now transforming into a sea of flowers and this morning small daffodils and sweet smelling spring flowers greet me! My sunroom feels like spring!!
Take THAT you long, cold winter!
So this morning as I sit by the warmth of our fire reflecting on abundance, the shortness of life and living life as if I had a full cup...I remember my dear friends Erik Anderson and Pat Bartlett.
Here's to you both! Thank you for gracing my life with your presence. I'll always remember you and live my life to the fullest. That's what you would both want me to do! I AM blessed beyond measure!
Sunday, March 01, 2009
"We are all just walking each other home." ...