Thursday, April 21, 2016

AGE TO AGE

I have been thinking a lot about who I want to be as I grow older, with front row seats for our parents as the aging process is thrust upon them like an unwelcome heat wave. We watch as they slow down physically, cognitively, and emotionally. Filters fall away. Their truest, unmasked selves burst forth. The best and the worst of each go hand in hand. Like a rewinding of a clock, ticking all the way back to their years as young children. While another clock presses them further along. I catch glimpses of who they must have been in their earliest years, clinging to their mama's apron strings...as they cling to their failing memories.

My son sent me a message this week. He's been watching from a distance. Hearing how this has been playing out. Processing this season of our lives as we take this journey with our parents. His message was so tender, and it made me stop and think. If he walks this rugged path with us when we embark on ripe old ages, who will he encounter in me? Who will my truest self be?

I don't know. But I hope I can influence who I'll become when my filters fade away. I hope that intentional choices I make now and in the years to come will mold and shape me into someone who is easy to love and care for.

Because one day, God willing, I will be sitting with my son or daughter. All my filters will be gone. And my truest self will shine through, in all its glory and flaws. As my own outer clock ticks forward...while the the internal one flies backward, I want the best to shine through. This is the gift I want to give my children.

What will I be like if I just let nature take its course? Who might I be if I approach this process prayerfully and intentionally? Who do I want them to see in me? I want to age gracefully. I want to be someone my family will enjoy to the very end.

"Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art."
~Eleanor Roosevelt


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

DANCE!

It had been one of those days. Heart-racing, how-will-I-get-it-all-done days. One of many in a long strand of blurred calendar boxes jam-packed with important stuff that needed to get done.

I sat at work, forced to be quiet and still. Shuffling through paperwork, I noticed a word. One word. It kept appearing, practically jumping off the pages in my hands. One word, leaping off the print, waving its arms at me. One word almost shouting, "LOOK AT ME!"

I know from past experiences. Because I believe God gives me one word at a time ~ to focus on, to breathe in, to experience on a deeper level.

DANCE. Hmm. This word didn't look like my others. HOPE. TRUST. PRAY. THANK. LOVE. DANCE?  Did this one word really have a rightful place with my others?

Where are you going with this one, Lord? I prayed silently, trying to put a visual to this five letter word. What I heard in return was just one word. DANCE.

Later that same day, I sat in our "nest" (my name for our tinier-living experiment). I opened my devotional and read the verse at the top of the page. "You turned my wailing into dancing, you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever." (Psalm 30:11-12) The message that followed ended with this challenge ~ "Spend a minute thanking God for turning your mourning into dancing." (Shauna Niequist)

Oh! I began to see where He was going with this new word. DANCE!

It's time to take off the tattered sackcloth of mourning and be clothed in joy. I jumped up and quite literally did a happy dance. Though circumstances may not appear all that joyful, I will still sing His praises. I will not be silent. And yes, I will dance!

Because when you know God and do your best to keep in step with Him (much like a dance), the joy is always available, always waiting for us, beckoning us to grab hold of it. Regardless of circumstances and calendars bursting at the seams with stuff that needs to get done. We get to decide everyday if we will wear the sackcloth of mourning, or get all dressed up in joy. And go dancing.