Many years ago I sat before a group of ladies and spoke of what had happened in my life. Just a few years before I had been in a terrible car accident. I talked about what it felt like to have traction pins screwed into both of your legs…while still awake. I talked about hearing the cries of a mother whose child was unresponsive and passing away before her eyes in a bed near mine in the trauma intensive care unit. I spoke about the kindness of those entrusted with my care and what it was like to rely on someone else for simple things like brushing your teeth or more humbling things like wiping your bottom. I spoke of the months spent in a wheelchair and bed….unsure of my future. I talked of the humiliation of the weight gain. My bloated face, puffy body…my small frame was not meant to carry the over 100 pounds I had gained. I cried when I spoke of infertility and how helpless and betrayed by own body I felt. And I talked about my current struggle with congestive heart failure. At this time I was still learning to walk again…my cane propped up beside me. I was still having panic attacks while driving down the road. I was still angry that my womb was as empty and barren as a desert.
But, within my story I weaved those stories Of God’s faithfulness and protection. I talked about those small and big miracles I had seen and those I still needed in my life. Those who know me well know I am just a bit irreverent. Through my tears I relayed the time my (pretty stinkin’ cute) male nurse in the trauma intensive care unit told me not to fret over some of the more delicate parts of my care. He had seen thousands of hinnies and mine wasn’t any different.
I promised the ladies that I was going to share my secrets of How To Live a Beautiful Life….even if the life around you doesn’t feel so beautiful. I could tell they were ripe with anticipation. They sat on the edges of their seats..pens in hand. You can imagine that a few of them had the wind out of their sails when I gave them instructions to host a tea party, display a bowl of lemons and then get a pedicure. What? Where was that magical pill? That special bit of courage and determination that only came when you needed it the most? They were anticipating my formula. How I quoted 62 passages of scripture every morning to myself with a smile. Sang Victory in Jesus to 3 people I would meet in the street and read the story of Job every day at 2:00pm. Please. There were days I spent in bed, staring at the wall trying to image the pain in my body was happening to someone else. Sure those passages of scripture went through my head, the song “I know Who Holds Tomorrow” wouldn’t leave it and I was feeling pretty sorry for myself and Job.
There is no formula for getting through the tough times. Sometimes you just have to let God carry you. And then Trust and Obey. God told me that there were things I just didn’t have any control of. And I couldn’t spend my life wishing my body morphed back into what I had known it to be. I needed to live now. I needed to live despite the pain. And I needed fill it with beautiful things. Small things…Cause the big things were things only He could take care of.
We are wired differently. To me beautiful things meant small moments that appealed to my very senses. God created us to appreciate beauty. And even if it is the site of a single fresh flower in a bud vase beside our bed. By the way…I’m allergic to fresh cut flowers. They make my chest seize up. But I decided a long time ago that I couldn’t be mad at nature. I just make sure to enjoy my fresh cut flowers in small doses and on spell occasions…and to have the antihistamine ready if needed.
My car accident happened in 1996. Even after the particular talk I gave there were more trials to come. Little did I know that the philosophy that God had placed in my heart was something I was going to need again and again ….despite how I felt or my circumstances.
I still sometimes wait for that magic formula. I’ve done it with weight loss. I’ve done it within our homeschool. Surely. There is something that is going to work exactly how I need it to work. Smoothly. Effortlessly. I spend so much time waiting for that special set of “instructions” or that magic little pill to show up I fail to really live a life worth living. I don’t take time to enjoy the tea parties, lemons and the like.
So here is your assignment. This is helpful for those of you who are waiting for your miracle to come in the form of some sort of magical formula. Get out a pen and paper. If you are like me you have a favorite pen that you can never find. But I adore pretty pens and pretty journals. I have a beautiful one right now I’m working through that a sweet friend gave me. I was using it to write scripture in. Now I’m also including some other bits and baubles. But don’t worry about how cute it is. Just write it down. First write down a scripture of encouragement or the words to a song or hymn that speaks to your heart. Now. Write down 3 things that you would like to do this week. They have to be “fluffy” things. They can’t be industrious or profitable other in the fact that they make your spirit sing.
This is the important part. Take time to do at least one of them. You might have time to do more. I don’t want to overwhelm you. Just start.
What’s on my list this week?
I am going to give myself a manicure. I am going to get out my cuticle oil, soak my hands and put some pretty pale pink polish.
I am going to make some pretty lemon water and put it in my cut glass pitcher. I am going to pour it into a beautiful glass and sip it while reading Anne’s House of Dreams.
I am going to take Josiah to the park on a sunny day. I am going to let the sunshine bathe my face and the wind blow through my hair. We will share a peanut butter and jelly and talk about nonsense things like why Darth Vader turned out to be such a meanie and why some cats are so peculiar.
And here is some last closing advice. Just don’t forget Breathe more. Laugh more. Sing more. You’ll be fine.