Tuesday, November 17, 2009

You are so blessed! and Take time to...

I went to the dentist the other day. When the dentist came in to do his 30 second token appearance, where he pretends to be checking my teeth but really he's just poking a couple places in my mouth with a sharp pointy metal thing, he said to me, "what a beautiful day...and you have such beautiful kids. You are so blessed." Well, I agree that I am blessed, but I must admit that I was taken aback by his bold declaration. Plenty of times, I've heard people say that they themselves are blessed, and I've also been included in a general we are blessed, but I don't think anyone has ever told me that I am blessed before. And why does my dentist think he knows enough about me to know that I'm blessed? To tell you the truth, my first gut reaction (in my head, because 1. I agree, and 2. I didn't want to be rude, and 3. the guy's hand was in my mouth) was, "you don't know me. You don't know my life. How dare you say that I'm blessed? How dare you judge me?"

I've sat with this for a while, and I've come to realize that my dentist does know enough about me to declared me blessed. He knows it was a beautiful day. He knows I have three beautiful and (mostly) well-behaved boys (when they're in his office). He knows that I can afford dental care. He knows that I live in one of the most prosperous countries in the world. He knows that I am a child of God. In fact, I'm pleased that he noticed my blessedness, and I am grateful for the generous reminder.

* * * * * * * * * * * *
The other day Bubby and I drove to the state park closest to our house to walk down to the waterfall and up the steps to the overlook. It was another gorgeous day, and we really enjoyed ourselves. On the way down, Bubby was counting squirrels. We saw a huge red-headed woodpecker, pecking, and then turned toward the river side of the path to see a bald eagle sitting in a tree 20 feet from us. I love that waterfall, and I love being outside. The people who passed us on the steps to the overlook were suitably impressed that Bubby was walking up by himself. We spent some time just looking and exploring, and then we headed back up the trail toward our truck and home.

It's a short path, around half a mile, but it is very steep, and the leaves on the paved part of the path made it quite slippery. I was having some trouble pushing the stroller, so I stopped to rest, and of course Bubby took this as his cue to exit the stroller. Ok, I thought. I'll rest and he can play. Good. But then I was ready to go on and Bubby wasn't. Bubby was busy scooping the fallen leaves into a pile and then jumping in them. Bubby was busy gathering armloads of leaves and then throwing them at me. Bubby was busy throwing leaves into the air and then running under them. I was annoyed. I was done with the waterfall, done with the path, done being outside, and ready to get to the truck and get home.

And then I realized. This was my agenda for the day. This, being with my big baby boy and experiencing the joy of playing in the leaves. That's why we went to the waterfall that day, not to check it off on our to-do list, but to enjoy each other and being outside . And while I was ready to be done, Bubby wasn't, quite yet. It's not like I had to be anywhere; it's not like I had anything better to do--in fact, all I had waiting for me at home was the endless piles of dirty clothes and dirty dishes. So why not? Why not take time to play in the leaves? It's one of my favorite things to do in the fall--how can I deny my little guy that pleasure? All that's required is that I let go of my agenda, my plan, and be willing to live fully in this moment, instead of always planning for the next.

So many times in life, we're looking forward, worrying about what tomorrow holds, focused on what comes next, what our plan is, when we should be living this day, this hour, this minute. I think we miss out on so much that way.

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
John 10:10b

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