This is taken from one of my Instagram posts from last week.
It’s that time of year when time seems to float over the mass of my to do lists and messy schedules, over my classroom lessons and my kids extracurricular activities, over weekend plans and planning to check in on friends and family, over all the things that seem to completely leave me floundering and often upset, for no reason other than I’m completely overwhelmed.
The past few weeks have been exhausting so I think I have to remember it’s ok not to complete the lists, to simply breathe and let things go. It’s ok to take a minute when everyone else is screaming for your attention to just be. So stop and take the picture, take it all in, just be.
I was listening to a podcast this morning on my way to work as I often do. Emily P. Freeman was giving life advice in the soothing, willowy, calm way only she can. (Check out “The Next Right Thing” on Spotify. I tried to link it but can’t.)
She talked about writers writing about what they know as a daily practice.
So, here I go. Here are some things I currently “know”. (Insert all the air quotes here because, WHAT do I REALLY know?)
I know that teenagers are like roller coaster. Up and down they go, where they stop, nobody knows. Unless you have food. They will stop for food. I know my daughter and son need time to decompress after a long day at school. I know they don’t really need advice but a listening ear.
I know Colorado is hot and dry and I need to wear more sunscreen lest I dry up like an old prune.
I know I am still waiting to take the best yearbook photo ever. I’m 42. Still haven’t.
I know my husband is kind and wants to take care of us even when he is away. I know he loves to cook and I love to eat what he cooks.
I know gas is expensive and I am like an Uber these days. I know I need to streamline our schedules and I’m trying my best.
I know we just went from zero to a thousand miles an hour and we just started school. I know I need to place boundaries around our time because no one is truly happy when we’re exhausted.
I also know that I am truly blessed to have a crazy schedule and healthy kids and a loving husband. I know these chaotic moments and schedules will pass and in a few years, I’ll be calling my kiddos instead of driving them around.
I know we have new neighbors that are kind and good and stop everything when my car battery dies to help out. I know I love our little house we are crammed into. I know I’ll miss it later.
I know these moments are fleeting and fast. I know life is hard and altogether good, if I look for that goodness. I know God has sustained me over the last few years, and He always will, even if His provision looks so different than I ever imagined.
So, what do you know?
James 4:14 “Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”
The tension is palpable, anxiety is almost like an electric current. New faces surround me; they are fresh and yet already exhausted. This is just the beginning of the journey.
The beginning of the journey of making another little family that will love us and also rip our hearts in two. The journey of finding out more about ourselves than we will ever be able to teach to others. The journey of learning what is truly important and what can wait for tomorrow, or never.
We smile, we move quickly as we rush to make magic of the piles left over for us to pilfer. Minds racing with information and ideas, some will be made tangible and others we will soon forget.
We rush, we slow down, we learn, we grow, we feel anxious, we feel overwhelmed. We feel love and loved. We feel like we are the luckiest people. We feel like teachers.
They say deaths happen in three’s. Maybe that’s an old wives tale. At any rate, it seems to always be that way. Lately I’ve thought about death. Not in a sad or morbid way but what will the next life, heaven, be like? I’ve read about it in the Bible and it seems like a beautiful place unparalleled to anything where the greatest of celebrations will take place, forever.
I walked through the Lauritzen Gardens in Nebraska as I am here on a work trip with my husband. I’m not sure Nebraska is my place but walking through these amazing gardens rich with color made me extremely reflective. So here is what I thought about.
What is heaven like?
Maybe a tree, towering tall with no broken limbs, strong and sturdy.
Maybe a meadow, lush and green, where anyone can run, as fast as they want.
Maybe a sunny sky that never makes us hot, only the perfect temperature.
Maybe a stolen moment with the people you loved on earth, still knowing exactly who they are, cherishing no broken relationships.
Maybe a perfect body, rewinding the clock to cartwheels and strong muscles, moving anywhere you want.
Maybe it will be animals that roam freely and never fight. Bees that buzz but never sting, no more bites that break our skin.
Maybe a beautiful meal set at a table for so many friends and family that you can’t wait to see, you can’t wait to catch up with.
Maybe a house with so many rooms, one made especially for you, your favorite colors, the comfiest mattress, fluffy pillows and just the right scented candle glowing it’s light beside an open window.
Maybe it’s complete communion and unbroken fellowship with the people and the world around you, no distractions, no worries.
Maybe it’s seeing the Light of the world and nothing else, because nothing else will matter.
Maybe it’s complete peace and joy and singing and working and playing, side by side in the most beautiful gardens in the center of a city that hustles and bustles. The hustle and bustle is not the hustle and bustle that reflects chaos but order. Maybe everyone knows their role and does it so completely, with no error.
Maybe it’s loving completely and being so loved that you can actually feel it; maybe that love will shine through us.
Maybe we will focus so much on the Love and Creator that nothing else will matter anyways.
I have such a sense of gratitude for the last thirty-one days, for this writing community and for a writing workshop that led me to this community.
A lot of people believe in fate or being in the right place at the right time. I believe in a God who has orchestrated my every step, my every decision.
I wasn’t going to go to the writing workshop that Saturday back in February. I had excuses. I didn’t know anyone.
I went anyways. It was awkward at first. I sat at a round table with a few others. We grabbed some snacks and the workshop began. We looked at pictures of food, talked about our memories connected with food, we wrote, we shared our writing. It was such a connective experience, listening and writing and sharing our memories with each other.
After this writing workshop, Dr. Carla Brown sat beside me and we talked. We talked about writing, teaching, food as a connection for all people groups. She told me about the Two Writing Teachers blog and this Slice of Life Challenge.
She looked straight into my eyes and said words I’ll never forget. “You have a book inside of you and you need to write it.” I had been questioning that call to write. She had no clue. She was my confirmation that day.
So here I am at the end of this March challenge. I’m proud of myself but more than that, I’m grateful for this community and the writing workshop I almost didn’t attend. I am grateful for your stories that opened my eyes to new perspectives. Let’s keep up the hard work of baring our hearts and souls in ways that so many will never understand. Let’s keep up this precious art. Let’s keep writing.