“Wherever you are, be all there” -Jim Elliot
I bounced across campus to art class decades ago. It was Thursday, February 13th and my hopes were high that my subliminally-flirting target/ object/victim? had caught my brainwaves. I glanced as I passed his red Toyota and noted a lack of flowers which surely would come tomorrow. Perhaps an off-handed invitation to grab lunch in the SUB would be forthcoming? Maybe a cookie dough log in an HEB baggie would be his love language of choice?
I am challenged as I consider St. Valentine’s Day. Are you? The challenge is living in the moment just as we are with just those around us and our lives as they are. Our deluded aspirations can lead to joy asphyxiation if we are not careful. The self-defeating assumption of where we should be at this point in our lives is only worsened by our own narcissistic and masochistic social media appetites.
I read somewhere that the surest way out of grief is to serve. The surest way to misery is self-pity. While no stranger to the former I wish I could claim the same about the latter. I’ve been to both poles and for my survival I flee from one to another. Contrary to popular belief focusing constantly on the missing actors in our autobiographical screen play may make for good drama but not an abundant life.
So show up for your life. Love who is there, the neighbor with questionable hygiene. That “free hugs” individual who clearly gets more out of it than anyone else. This is crazy….how about your family? If your parents live in Heaven and you’ve passed the background check, adopt one at the nursing home. If you never got to have kids why not volunteer your time helping the under-resourced. If you don’t have a girlfriend to kiss just hang around “free hugs” guy. No, why not do something kind for someone with greater challenges than yourself?
Chances are if you ride this world a few thousand times that you will face an unforeseen sucker punch. Only in Heaven is ultimate bliss. Having great dreams and expectations for your life means in many cases taking the raw material which surrounds you and having a blast despite all reason. Despite the way things used to be or the way things should’ve been or the way we dream they will be in the future. Live in the now. Right now.
When I sat down in art class to my utter surprise you’ll never guess what happened…No. Thing. Nothing. No candy, no dough log of happiness, no card. Zilch. No, my Great Love was on another campus and I would have to wait for a few years for that dumplin.
So take a deep breath and a big fat look around and live the magical, overcoming, beautiful life God made you to live. Stop waiting for the roses you deserve and go deliver to the undeserving. Which as I come to think about us is all of us.