Friday, June 5, 2009

Happy Wake-Up Day?

There are some days that you would describe as normal. You wake up, put on the same shoes, wear the same dress you wore last Thursday (a week ago), eat a familiar breakfast and drive to work. Your work day is the same old - same old, with a new project thrown in, maybe. You take the same route home, cook someone’s favorite dinner, watch regular programming on TV with the kids and go to bed hoping the next day will be just as normal.

These days are good. You’ve done nothing you have to apologize for, no one has offended you, and your livelihood is sustained. These are the days I like to call wake up days, because you can go to bed at night and in your prayers, you thank God for your blessings, for the life you live, and your lone request may be of simply waking up tomorrow. You are hopeful for whatever exciting things are to come.

Now, I’m not saying that we are living our lives bored out of our minds. I don’t think I’ve ever heard an adult seriously complain of having nothing to do. Whether you have no job, one job or three jobs, we all find ways to fill up our days with activities. If we can’t, our families will find ways to fill them up for us. I’m just saying that we often think of these days as one extreme and good days as the other. We all recognize there will be bad days when terrible things occur, such as a death of a loved one or the loss of a job, but we seem to move those days to a different scale, a sort of freak scale. Because, for the most part, we either have normal days where nothing very good happens, or normal days where something good happens. (We also move the exceptionally fantastic days to the freak scale. Those are the days we marry, give birth to our babies, etc., i.e., freak isn’t always bad.) If something sort of bad happens, like losing our keys… well, that’s really normal, isn’t it?

So, I’m perplexed. What kind of day is this? Because, I don’t think I’ve had a day like any of these since the end of last year. You see, the week before Christmas, my family learned we would be moving, and the sooner the better. This threw us into a whirlwind of “oh-for-goodness-sake, what-are-we-going-to-do” panic, followed by unexpected major expenses, unpleasant confrontations with loved ones, unimaginable slights by immediate family members, and stress induced serious health problems (which are just as hard to accept). I do still thank God for my blessings, certainly, but the main purpose of my prayers at night have become to request His guidance and please-oh-please, just a little more strength. Six months later, I still feel like we are stuck in December 2008 and things keep on getting worse. I always try to do my best, but lately, despite my all of my efforts, I’ve fallen flat on my face in so many ways.

Don’t call the ambulance or the shrink just yet. I’m fine.

While this all sounds very depressing, let me assure you that I am not shaken. I’m simply a little distracted. I’m distracted by the things we’ve given up. I’m distracted by the plans we’ve had to put on hold. I’m also distracted by the new still unclear blueprint laid out before us. Put simply, I’m living in the past, present and future, and despite what you might have heard before, at times, there is no other choice. You can’t *not* live in tomorrow. If you start living only in the moment, the mortgage doesn’t pay itself and your kids won’t go to college. Being a parent necessitates the mapping out of the future (and some may argue that being an adult requires the same). Reflecting on recent events is required if you hope to mend broken relationships. If you don’t live in the present, well, you just won’t eat. So, what is this new way of life called? What exactly can I call this day, like every other day in the past six months (with the exception of a wonderful weekend in March)?

Today on Twitter, I was directed to a blog post that clarifies some of it for me. Karla Porter (@karpo) explains a day in her life that sounds similar to a day in my life now. Learning to be content with what you have is the essence of her post.

(The following text is taken directly from her blog post.)

It is hard to be content.
There is so much that we think we must have.
That we think will make us happy.
That will fill a void.
That we think will make us popular and well-thought of.
If only we could have it.
Then life would be complete.

But that's not how it’s supposed to be. Not when there are people who have to do without basic necessities each and every day. When people are suffering from diseases that are treatable.

I love beautiful things. And don't believe there is anything inherently wrong with beautiful things. But there is when we ignore the suffering of others while we bask in "OUR" things.

(End of text.)

Beautiful things, as well as necessities, come in various forms. Either might be a new car, a new skill or a new haircut. You might apply the definitions to a lifestyle or a health condition, and just about everyone will agree that a relationship can be a beautiful thing, and some may say, a necessity. As hard as it is to accept, relationships come and go, and rarely, but sometimes, there is very little you can do about it. When it is out of your control, you must understand what it is and acquiesce to God’s will.

Just like your days will be filled, so will your heart. If you can’t find a way to fill it, your family (and friends) will do it for you.

Perhaps I never made it to one side of the normal scale before, or perhaps I’ve been living on the good side for so long that I forgot what the other side looked like. Either way, I am thankful for still being on the normal scale and tomorrow, I’m really looking forward to having my first (brand new) wake up day in a long time.

Thanks, Karla, for taking the urgency off of my prayer “requests” and putting more meaning behind the thank-you part.

Here is a link to Karla’s blog post. Be sure to watch the video at the bottom of that page.

Looking Towards Heaven

Karla on Twitter

Search This Blog