I rolled into one of my old favorite Mexican Restaurants for a small family dinner with my in-laws.
Old girl met me first: (I said, in a loud, voice in my head, I did not expect to see YOU here!) There she was in all her self: Walking in, holding the door for my mother-in-law, looking forward to “guacamole live” made at the table before us, standing to hug late comers to our table, engaged with ease and pleasured delight, dynamic part of conversational flow, chips and salsa until who needs the meal, endless options on the menu, only one napkin needed, ease of picking up full glass, no thought to restroom issues, catching side conversations, no distractions of jealousy with moms and young kids or old couples walking with ease, just me. The just of me. The ease of just me. I miss my old girl!
My life was not perfect. I carried disappointments and dreams. Hopeful Dreams. But oh, what I took for granted. I missed the moments for all their worth. These are examples of what I’d press into now if only I had known. . . .Enjoy the strength of a step, use a word to encourage, relish each crunchy bite, delight in a cool drink with no choking risk, cook with love, (I can’t believe I’m gonna say this but. . .), provide at the grocery store without grumbling, put that worn, warmed towel from the dryer to my face and give thanks you can pick it up AND fold it, chase that toddler and be glad firm grip still stops him, make suds fun at the kitchen sink and put it on someone’s nose, tie a bow with time and love, take time to leave a voice mail just because, say a goodbye with an invitation for God to say a hello.
New Girl, lagged behind: Hiding in her memories. Reluctant to see, sip, bite, engage eyes or find the courage to be present. Personal pain is a breeding ground for pity and isolation. This is not a pity party. (The next one I have, I’ll be sure not to invite you ;)) I hear God whisper, “What if I like this new girl better?” I want to agree? I want to believe in His perspective.. I want to like her better too. I just can’t get there. . . I want to know the gratitude of this new girl is a priceless gift.
But I can say, I love the gratitude this new girl carries forth into her list of giftings. There is no life circumstance that excuses gratitude. Life is always a gift, with a gift tag from our sweetheart, Jesus.
My life gifts:
I take nothing for granted. . .I mean nothing. . . .
My eyes open to receive morning light (I have the luxury many mornings to close them to sleep in)
I smell fresh damp hair as a daughter leans into goodnight
My hand types, “Thank you” (how much harder can I press the keys?)
My pink rose bushes fight the weedy vine that creeps from below
My neurologist at the ALS Clinic is a woman of faith and she speaks hope. . .Face to Face
My bed receives my tired efforts of the day (just deep can my tired legs and arms sink?)
As the white doctor’s coat slips over her slim shoulders, one to grow into, another victory against this disease is won (I feel it’s only her and me in that moment)
God brings love in need to me, I don’t have to look for it
I smell the ink press as I open a new book
I hear footsteps as lyrics in a silent song
Artistic adaptive home changes
As a pony is colored and written on to snuggle love (mistakes don’t matter anymore!)
Ice water in the middle of the night served with husband’s patient love
Plans for new ALS Walk begin beyond me
Daughter helps dry my hair, when I want to count every hair on her head instead
Family Dinner, adding extra seats at the last minute for a hungry college friend 🙂
Time to read, pray into press, Be Still.
My prayers are simple, direct and to the point
Hidden liberty worth searching for (it’s dusty in here!)
An episode of Larksrise to Candleford (BBC Library DVD Loan) is shared with two daughters
New Habit: “I trust you Lord in this emptiness.” I say it aloud/silently inside, whether I “feel it or not.” (Do we have to feel it, to make God’s Truth true? HA!)
Comings and goings around me
Snow Cones, Wedding Cake Flavor with Condensed Milk (oooh, my, never would have allowed myself such caloric indulgence)
Gift of Shepherd’s Pie Warms the Kitchen
I close my eyes in my husband’s arms. Fear and Security meet as sleep covers the day in prayers
I stopped only to rest my hands, and your eyes. Get the point?
I don’t always “feel grateful” (in fact, just a few days ago, I wanted to blow up the planet) in the moment.
But I chose to believe, living a life of gratitude, makes a Kingdom of Difference in growing and sharing a Godly perspective.
This new girl does have gratitude to live by. . .with and through today