Sunday, June 5, 2016

Ponderings on Life

This week, with Kami headed to a new job in a new city, I've been pondering many of life's deepest issues. (Like how I missed eating a donut on National Donut Day...)
But seriously, combine that move with some of the books I've been reading, and I've once again been dwelling on the meaning of life. And I have to say that at the ripe ol' age of 37, I still don't have much more figured out than I did when I was Kami's age...

But I can't help but think that is what life is all about. Not that we're put here to blindly wonder along until we find our eternal home...

But Jesus said He was the Way, and even His disciples weren't sure of where they were going... even after spending hours in His presence!

So I'm beginning to realize that while life is ALWAYS about the destination (because Heaven is the ultimate goal I'm striving for), it's a lot about the journey and what you make of it along the way...

The journey is where we form relationships (which we were created for) and where we learn to trust Him in the curvy, rocky, hilly parts, and where we point other travelers His way.

It's long and often uncomfortable, often filled with mosquito bites and thorny bushes...

But it's also beautiful along the way. 

So, with all that being said, here's what I've really been pondering these past few days:
1. If you are going to the movies at Regal Cinema in Lexington, make sure you order your tickets in advance. Kami and I watched Me Before You yesterday from the front row, which basically meant that in the previews I was nauseated from the fast moving action shots. Also, you could see the pores in the actor's faces. But the reclining chairs were nice and we both agreed that once the movie started it wasn't all that bad.
Except for the crying, which I was fully prepared for, because I had read the book. And why wouldn't we choose a movie with lots of crying on this weekend she is moving away? (Because as I sat there with my head leaned back, I thought of her with pigtails and a huge bucket of popcorn propped between her legs that didn't touch the floor and the seat that wouldn't even hardly stay down because she was so little bitty... but I DID NOT mention those thoughts because she'd just say, "Stop it right now". Ok, melodramatic, much??)
And the topic of the book/movie (and of course I read the book first!) , assisted suicide in a paraplegic, was heavy. An ethical dilemma for sure. Because if you love someone, do you support them to the end? How can you just let someone go? Much too heavy of a discussion for this blog...
Except one thing, the hashtag of the movie (I love me some hashtags!).
That goes along with my year of purpose perfectly...
Live well in all of your circumstances...
2. We all live a legacy. Yes, we leave a legacy... but we live one, as well... a legacy that comes from all of those that come before us. (I told y'all I was thinking deep!)
In the last chapters of Giddy Up, Eunice, Hudson talks about the legacy Timothy received from his mother and grandmother. As I read about Sophie's grandma, and "visited" her grandparents Southern farm through her word pictures, I couldn't help but look down at the thumb on my right hand. That thumb is a reminder of my own legacy. When I was in third or fourth grade, my Grandma Na was playing around with me. I was in her hallway, moving my arms and pretending to introduce someone famous. Grandma had a pair of scissors in her hand and was snipping them through the air, pretending like she was going to cut something around me... except she accidentally sliced the tip of my thumb. It hurt, it bled, I missed a softball game and piano lessons because of it... but there's not a moment that I look down at that thumb and don't think of her. Of her grace and love and how she prayed for each of us.  Sometimes, in tense moments, I'll find myself rubbing that thumb against my forefinger.
3. In thinking about that legacy, I have also been thinking of what people would say about me. What kind of legacy am I passing on? How will people remember me?
4. Along the same lines, I'm thinking of how unkind we can be. I recently read a story from the Today show about a woman who left a note for three teenage girls who were being catty in their conversation. I can remember being those teenage girls. And as much as I love the movie Mean Girls, I think it is sad that in all honesty, that's what our society has come to. If you follow my blog much, you know that I've been focusing on purpose this year, living more intentionally, and intentionally trying to be kind. I find myself looking at people and thinking, "What do they need today? How can I help them meet that need?"
5. But thinking and doing isn't the same thing. It's easy to think... ponder... but acting is much more difficult.
6. And this type of thinking can be a reverse stereotype.  Too often we look at people and think we know what they are going through, what their thoughts are. We try to make decisions for other people... when maybe we just need to simply be present (another recurring theme of mine this year... I'm a slow learner, y'all...) and accept them.
7. Not accept them to leave them that way... but to accept them so that they'll trust us enough to follow us...
8.. Another pondering I've had the last couple of weeks is how we all seem to be experts on everything. Following the incident in the gorilla cage at the Cincinatti Zoo, a whole slew of child experts and animal rights activists popped up on social media. I know nothing about animal control, and I can't pretend to know what that Mama's situation was that day... but I know that every human needs compassion, and while it is sad that an "innocent" animal was killed, the tragedy could have been much worse. In our society, though, we fail to value the sacredness of human life. We are callused and have little empathy, and it is far easier to point fingers and become outraged that the poor gorilla was killed (because he was endangered!) than to find ourselves admitting that maybe if we were that Mama, we could have turned our back, too... (or whatever happened...)
9. And speaking of endangered, I can't help but think that the human race is the most endangered one... not necessarily in numbers, because we know that the population just keeps growing and growing. But as that number grows, so do we grow out of touch with one another. This topic circles back to my comments on empathy and kindness... in a world full of technology, when we can facetime and have conversations from around the globe, we have never been more distant. We're too busy trying to save the world and know what is going on that we often fail to recognize the troubles in our own living room...
or maybe that's just being naïve, because we don't want to admit that bad things can happen to us, too.
I wish I had all the answers, but I don't. I don't know how to increase empathy and kindness and save the world... I don't know how to ensure that one leaves an untarnished legacy. I don't know whether it was the right thing for the gorilla to have to die. I don't know how to convince people that the only way to save our endangered species is for us to let go and stop trying to control everything, and give it over to the One who created it all...
But I do know to seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. To love God and to love my neighbors. To let my light shine. To allow Him to direct my path.
And somehow, in stumbling on that path, maybe I'll leave a footprint for those following behind.
And I won't have to crane my neck in a front row seat in the process.

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