A friend of mine died unexpectedly this weekend.
When I heard the news it shocked me. I kept thinking of all she was in the midst of – writing, being a mother, being too young. She was the person that I would have told you had years upon years upon years upon years to live.
How could it just be over like that?
It makes me think about life, about the shortness of our days, and how we really don’t know the number that we’re blessed to walk around on this earth alive. And it makes me ponder the importants and how one lives. Oh my goodness, it makes me look at my own heart posture and in some ways wants to make me grab myself by the shoulders and to give me a good wake up shake.
If I knew I had a year left to live how would I live? Six months? A month? A week?
Would I grumble about having to do the dishes? Or would I simply be grateful to do dishes and for the feel of the water on my hands and the sun glancing through the windows? Because now, now I grumble. All too often – about those simple every day things. And I shift around priorities making non importants urgent and uttering the in a minute too often to those I love.
I’d see mothering with eyes that no longer were jaded by the urgents created by the world. It would be this dose of perspective and reality that would make the word yes come more often than the word no.
I would want to read those extra books at night. Take the walks to the park and back. I’d want to listen more, to understand, and to learn. And I would want to make sure that I said I love you and that those words were understood.
It’s easy to live thinking that we’re invincible. Or at least it’s easy to live forgetting the gift found in this day. And then we get reminders that snap us into the reality that right now, this moment, this day, this week, this hour – it’s not to be lost.
But the reality of life can crush the perspective of the gift. When the finances overwhelm, the relationships don’t turn out how we expected, and sometimes when motherhood just seems to bury us under to-do lists, laundry, and the never ending cry for mom.
Truth? I get exasperated at that constant mom cry so often.
I’ll feel the frustration well in me and I’ll snap back with short replies of just a second or can’t you just wait or no one better say mom for the next five minutes and sometimes, most often it’s just a little thing that they want. I lose that perspective of gratitude for the simple things when I allow the ordinary things to overwhelm.
Would I if I knew the finite number of my days?
Probably so, at times. Because I’m real. And I’m not going to sugar coat how challenging motherhood and life can be. It’s ridiculous to think that there won’t be off days or days when we want to pull our hair out or days when we’ve had it and we want to yell I quit even if it’s just the dishes. But, and this is the perspective that I want my heart to stay, but I also know that despite the challenges there is a gift in realizing that life is a gift.
Fears about what to do tomorrow would be erased.
So often fear holds me, holds us, in spots where we’re not really comfortable and yet we stay. We settle for it is as it is and lose sight of the beauty, adventure, and joy found in life. I wonder how many hours I’ve lost worrying whether I’m a good mother versus just being a mother. So much time spent wasted with measuring up or getting stuff done and so much time that could have just been spent learning, embracing today, and loving.
That perspective – how I wish I could keep it always – and how I wish it didn’t take a tragedy, illness, or death to snap me back to seeing where my heart needs to rest.
So today, today I challenge you to step back, to take a deep breath, and to look at your journey and embrace the good and to live like your day was finite. Let go of the things that burden you – the ridiculous measuring up fallacies of this world – and instead love those that you love. Sit in the grass, watch the clouds, run with those kids, read the books, do the dishes thankful that you can stand behind a sink and can scrub away food that your family was blessed to eat, hug those you love, call those you care about, and give yourself grace to feel life and find joy.
Embrace the little things.
Off to tell those I love that I love them and to live thankful for the little things.
This post is dedicated to Debbie Strayer – a beautiful writer, the author of the homeschool curriculum that our family uses, and most importantly, my friend. We’ve only met a couple of times, but have talked on the phone many, and I am grateful for the connection that we had and for the incredible encouragement she blessed me with. My thoughts and prayers go out to her entire family and the Geography Matters community.
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