Friday, July 29, 2011

Sunny Days

Isn't it amazing how one's outlook drastically improves when the sun shines? I never cease to be impressed when my internal stormy clouds get swept away as the bright Colorado sun gently warms my mind.

Here's the deal: All of us have a life to live. Nobody's life is more important than another's, yet the majority of us live as if the daily drama either constantly affects us or we are above it. I say "daily drama" lightly, fully aware that one person's drama is another person's entertainment. In this case I refer to anything that isn't going as planned, which can also be viewed as whatever makes us unhappy. The unhappiness ends up becoming the focus, thus effectively eliminating all possibility of seeing the joy in the process.

So many of us get caught up in the now, and think "if I can just get over this next hurdle [insert financial troubles, relationship issues, deadlines in the office, illness, busy schedules, oodles of emotional-related issues, general frustrations or crankiness, etc.], then I can go on with my life." Life is then put on hold while momentary troubles take the spotlight.

I'm pretty sure our American forefathers had an incredible nugget of wisdom in that very small phrase "The pursuit of Happiness," that so many of us glaze right over: It's about the pursuit. They never promised happiness, nor did they say that it was the end objective! In their God-centered directive as they set the foundation of our country, they focused on the process of living life. At some point during the development of our nation, the focus shifted to the happiness portion (probably early 60's to 70's) and the balance of life was thrown off.

At some point, each of us have to individually make the decision about what type of life we will live. For some, it is an early decision about being happy in the moment. For others it is about the pursuit. For the select few, it's about both. Today, I have decided that it's about both, for me at least. My burdens are lifted as I, in faith, believe that God the Almighty is there with and for me every step of the way. Those stormy clouds in my mind are permanently whisked away while the sunshine leaves it's everlasting warmth as I embrace all of life with joy, acceptance, gladness, gratitude and an expectant heart that every moment is better than the last.

Sunny days, keeping the clouds away....

Friday, May 27, 2011

Tearing Apart

I hear that as one grow older, different common stages come into play both in your life and the lives around you. As a child, we had our "play" and "sports" stage. In middle school there was the "everybody's parents are getting divorced" stage, but nobody knew why, only that it hurt. In college it was the "experimentation and find yourself" stage where we tried new things that we could chalk up to our "crazy college years." Afterwards, it was the "time to grow up" stage where we got our first apartments, realize we had it good in high school with zero financial responsibility, suck it up and pay our bills while still finding time to do some more mature exploring of the world and ourselves. At this juncture, people split into a few categories. Some got married, some pursued careers, some traveled the world, some focused on relationships, some had babies. But at some point those stages ended up circling back and possibly ended for some while the rest may have embraced the continuation of others.

The stage I am now learning about is the one as I'm in my early 30's where more people are getting married, and many are having children. Careers are taking off, we're starting to take care of some of our grandparents or parents and it's the new "20" according to many theorists. Here's the thing though, there is also a growing undercurrent of adultery, pain, drug abuse and self-rediscovery amongst the people I know. It's freaky as heck. I had personal experience as a pre-teen with my own parents going through some of this, but I never understood why or how it could happen. And now, those I love are even speaking of such horrors, and after being married I see their point. I don't agree with them, nor would I ever because it breaks a commitment deeper than any other that we can, in our flesh, agree to,, oh man, this is tough!

I guess I'm learning that through all these seasons, people aren't superhuman after all. We laugh, we cry but we still live. We need to be needed and we need to be left alone. Those two needs drive many of our decisions throughout life, and it's amazing how those two needs can be the catalyst for a destructive path of decisions that will obliterate those in its wake.

So what are we left to do? Pray with everything you've got. It is now a season for prayer, and if you haven't started, it's a good time to begin. I don't give a flyin' flip if you believe in God or not, He hears you anyway, and our souls are not meant to cut through life alone without divine comfort and direction. Prayer might seem like a cop-out for those of you who are angry and hurting, but I will say this: When you pray for others, you take your eyes off yourself and your investment grows from being self-focused to a heart of compassion for those around you. If you're not hurting and still feel like prayer is a cop-out, do it anyway.

Now, for those of you who are momentarily freaking out and wondering about Chad and myself, we are very much okay. Sure, we've gone through our own trials, but we manage to come out together on top every time. And that's the trick I hear- never give up on coming on top together. We have a tightly knit healthy community that surrounds us, and who are committed to walking through our marriage with us - we're not naive enough to think we can "do" marriage alone!

With all that said and done, I feel like my heart is slightly tearing apart with the sadness I feel for others. God, I pray that your Spirit will go into the hearts of any who are affected by this new stage. Lord, bring your light and illuminate it all so that all may see, heed, and get out of those prisons or help others to get out of theirs. In Jesus' name, Amen.