Thursday, August 4, 2011
Life is strange. You never know if it's going to put something wonderful into your life- or take something out of it. It can keep you full of excitement, or fill your moments with fear. It can be an easy ride, as pleasant as spending an afternoon in a canoe, or a ride that terrifies you; so much so that you pray for death to take you. And somewhere in the middle is love, which is the most awesome thing. Love can bring the strongest man to his knees, can tear down any wall, and can break a heart faster than the sun can melt ice.
A man sometimes has empty spots within him- is oftentimes unaware of it until he comes around a bend in the road and meets love face-to-face. That can scare a man, especially if that man believes himself to be full. When that man meets love, he finds himself slowing down, thinking before speaking or doing; finds himself putting himself in other people's shoes- not rushing into anything. He tries hard to live up to what God says love is. My sweet Johnny did this, and I so love him for it.
Well, these are just a few of the thoughts that were, and still are, floating around in my head. I am going through a pretty rough time at the moment, having to experience, in my opinion, the worst moment of a man's life, which is to lose somebody they love. Another goodbye is just ahead, a final one. Guess the thought of it evoked billions of memories, memories that will carry me through the worst of my days- the worst of my nights.
I find myself walking backwards these days, stopping so often, probably way too often, at the places that meant the most to me. You know the kind, those experiences that so pleasured you that you wanted to freeze them so as to keep them forever. What if we had no memory? I thought of that yesterday, while reading some earlier love notes my Johnny had written me. I came across photos of the truck that took us all across the United States, photos of the places we lived, and the place I was working at when he walked through the door and stole my heart. Memories are precious things, fragments of our lives, the gold thread that ties everything together.
A friend of mine said to me, not long ago. "Barb, life stinks! No matter how hard I try, not one thing changes. Nothing! I don't know how you stay on top of things, how you somehow manage to remain cheerful instead of becoming bitter and resentful."
My reply to her was "I manage by reminding myself to not lose the wonder I had as a child, to not get so caught up in what's going bad that I overlook all that is going good."
I learned that valuable lesson while talking to an elderly gentlemen in a Bible store, many years ago. I had a lot on my mind that day, was going through a horrible time in my life...the very worst ( at least it felt like it back then). This small book store had a few chairs placed here and there so one could sit if need be. As much as I wanted to purchase a new book I found I could not focus enough. My mind was on what was hurting me so much, what was causing so many problems in my life. I sat down, got up, walked about, sat down then got up again. I'd pick a book up, then, being unable, or unwilling to check it out, just wandered about the store. Finally, having a difficult time with my depression I sat down on a chair near the front of the store, one near the window. I gazed out at the world, sadness eating at my heart.
An elderly gentleman stopped by the chair, said, "You're not having a good day, are you dear?" There was such kindness in his voice that I answered him. "No. Not really."
"Know what would help?" he asked. I shook my head no, forcing tears back.
"What would help you, my child." he said, kindly, "is an hour a day to yourself."When I didn't respond to what he said he continued." I don't mean an hour spent doing something. I mean an hour spent doing nothing."
"How would doing nothing help me?" I asked, his comment not making much sense to me.
"It helps because doing nothing quiets your spirit, and if you will spend the hour as I suggest you'll be quite surprised at how much better you will feel. "
"How must I spend it? What must I do?"
"You find a quiet place, outside if possible. Sit in a comfortable place, near your garden, on your porch, in a favorite chair or porch swing, if you have one. Sit and do nothing for that hour except tune in to your senses. Listen to the sound the leaves make as the breeze walks through the trees. Listen to the birds, the cars passing by, the neighbors chattering. Look around you- at the color of the sky, the shape of buildings, the color of the flowers, grass, the clothes you wear. Feel the chair beneath you, the texture of your skirt, how your feet feel in your shoes. Take some deep breaths. Make note of what you smell: Flowers, growing grass, somebody frying bacon, the perfume you are wearing. My dear, spending an hour this way enables you to truly relax. It teaches you the wisdom of letting go of your worries and fears, reminds you that no matter how hard and fast paced life is, you can rise above things. I discovered this by accident- became very ill and was forced to do nothing. It was the best thing that ever happened to me. Do try this, my dear. I guarantee that it will help you. You'll be surprised how much."
That conversation was such a long time ago, but I've not forgotten the man or what he taught me. It changed my life, which is why I am writing about it today, sharing it, truly hoping those of you who are going through rough times will try this. Try it even if things are not so bad. An hour spent THIS way is life-changing.
Well, I have things to do, chores that have to be done. Whether your day is a good one - or a bad one, look for the sunniest, shiniest, brightest moments in your day. Create new memories every chance you get. And remember the value of being as gentle- as kind to yourselves as you are to others.
My prayer for you today, is that the Lord's peace is ever with you; that you know that fear only has as much power as we give it, and that every trial, no matter how painful or sad, does eventually, come to its own end.
And for all the love, friendship and support you all give me,