the extra in the ordinary

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i don’t believe in accidents in life. i mean, there are the kind where you spill grape juice all down the front of your crisp white dress, and maybe those unforeseen (no pun intended) times when you stab yourself in the eye with the mascara wand (boys, i know you feel me on that one) as you’re coating your lashes, but as far as how things happen on a grander scale, i believe that my life, and well, every single one of the lives around me, has been laid out in a perfectly orchestrated plan. and if you don’t believe me, go read jeremiah 29:11.

but this isn’t about convincing you that there is something bigger and greater than ourselves who holds this little planet in the palm of his hands, rather, it’s about knowing that mark’s sermon on the topic of thankfulness yesterday, coupled wiith this morning’s rediscovery of shauna niequist’s final chapter in cold tangerines were just what i needed to hear after a weekend of engagements (still so excited for you, K!) and weddings and milestones that i seem so very far away from, had left me a bit despondent.

i have the remind myself that it is good. i have to create hope in my life, because there’s something inside me that has radar for bad parts of life. i walk into the kitchen and all i can see are crumbs on the counter, and i look in the mirror and i don’t even see my face, i just see all the potential wrinkles forming. i have a dark, worst-case scenario sensor, and it takes over. it’s all true. there are crumbs on the counter. i am definitely getting wrinkles. i just don’t want to live in only that reality.

because there is another reality. a better one. hope and redemption and change are real, and they’re happening all around me. so i choose to act out of that reality, because the other one makes life too hard, day after day. life is painful, and we carry with us so much disappointment and heartbreak. but i’m fighting to save some space inside where i can create hope. i can’t live there in the disappointment anymore. i’ve missed whole seasons of my life. i look back and all i remember is pain. i guess i went to work or to class during that time, but i don’t really remember. i wasted a lot of time wishing i was different. i didn’t love the gift of life because i was too busy being angry about the life i was given. it was just wasted time. i can’t take away the things that have happened to you or to me, but what we have, maybe as a reward of getting through all the other days, is today. today is a gift. and if we have tomorrow, tomorrow will be a gift.

it is rebellious in a way, to choose joy, to choose to dance, to choose to love your life. it’s much easier and much more common to be miserable. but i choose to do what i can do to create hope, to celebrate life, and the act of celebrating connects me back to that life i love. we could just live our normal, day-to-day lives, saving all the good living for someday, but i think today, just plain today, is worth it. i think it’s our job, each of us, to live each day like it’ s a special occasion, because we’ve been given a gift. we get to live in this beautiful world. when i live purposefully and well, when i dance instead of sitting out, when i let myself laugh hard, when i wear my favorite shoes on a regular tuesday, that regular tuesday is better.

“cold tangerines” | pgs. 233-24 | shauna niequist | cold tangerines

i have to believe that it’s no fluke or happenstance that i was reminded yet again what a gift my life is. this very one that i am living on this tenth day of june in the year 2013. not the one that i hope to live one, five, ten years from now, but this one that is right before me, unfolding with each movement of the clock’s second hand.

because sometimes i need that reminder. when i begin dwelling solely on the things it lacks, the dreams that have yet to be met, and the milestones not yet reached, a whisper to be thankful rather than spiteful emerges and grounds me.

and so today i will choose to be thankful for this gorgeous life i have. this gift that presents itself with each new sunrise. i will not waste my time fixating on what it doesn’t have or who it doesn’t have or the places it has yet to go or see. i will instead set my sights on finding the extra in the ordinary today. right where i am. because right where i am these days is a pretty fantastic spot to be.

life is a gift


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