Wednesday, February 19

Does My Life Matter?

My quiet life.
I live a quiet life. I’m not the life of the party. In fact, I'm a bookworm. An introvert. I’m not in charge of hundreds of workers or responsible for millions of dollars. The fate of the free world will never rest on my shoulders.

So when I was asked, "What brings you joy?" I thought of the obvious answers: Family, friends, faith, a fulfilling life. But then I wondered if those things -- the small things, the quiet things that bring me joy -- really matter in the grand scheme of it all. Which led me to wonder: Do I matter? How do you quantify a life well-lived? Does the sum total of my life add up to something meaningful? 


And then I remember:

My hometown.
The sound of gravel kicked up on the car on dusty back roads
A brown stucco house with ivy-climbed sides
Schools smelling of dried glue, chalk dust, and endless lunches of French toast sticks and cooks' choice

A 5th-grade spelling bee lost because of “proboscis”
The fierce roar of green-and-white faces at state basketball and wrestling games
The insistent thumping of marching band drum cadences, French braids mashed to sticky heads under heat-trapping hats
Jumping on trampolines on stifling summer days with a best friend, humidity so thick it clogs pores and tears your eyes. 



My wanderlust. 
An internal collection of postcards cataloging the tumble of the Thames, peacocks in the foreground strolling by;
A night scene of the Seine, where gaudy lights drown out the stars in their excess,
reflected in the black chasm of water;
And a domestic view of the queue at Sainsbury’s grocery in the heart of Oxford, impatient for their digestives and Frosties. 


My return to a small-town life.
Summer parades where we get pelted with a hail of Tootsie Rolls and Dum-Dum suckers and hasten to pull the feet of our children off the hot tar mere seconds before the Shriners speed by --
a timed dance of tiny toy cars, old men with streaming tasseled hats.
Picnics where we use anti-bacterial soap with the frequency of Howard Hughes, then blithely impose the ten-second rule when we drop an M&M on the ground.
Thunderous, stormy afternoons in which we commemorate the destruction rent by a tornado
with a trip to DQ for Butterfinger Blizzards and a drive around town to view the aftermath. 


Making silly faces at Mama.
My certainty that I am right where I should be.
Rainy afternoons when my 4-year-old leans over during a movie to grasp my hand tightly and say, “Mom, you’re my best friend.” 

Saturday mornings when I unexpectedly catch my husband dancing with the girls in the kitchen.
Each day that I open the door to my youngest daughter's room and she lays back down in her bed so I'll rub her back.
The cup of coffee my husband brings to me each morning (half-caff with homemade creamer and maple syrup). 

Laughter and love shared with the women I call friends. 
Days when I listen to something like the IF Gathering online, tears and dishwater mixing as my children pause from running circles around the house to squeeze my legs tight.
Realizing how, even amid the muck and struggle and toil of life, there is nowhere else I'd rather be.

And I've decided.

I’m ok with my quiet life because it brings me joy. 

I chose this.  

And at the end of the day, isn’t that what we want to know? That we matter. That what we choose to do each day, how we spend our minutes and hours and days on this earth, adds up to something that lasts. Because if you believe that this life is a mere preview of life eternal? Truthfully, it does.

“I will sing for joy in God, explode in praise from deep in my soul! He dressed me up in a suit of salvation, he outfitted me in a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom who puts on a tuxedo and a bride a jeweled tiara. For as the earth bursts with spring wildflowers, and as a garden cascades with blossoms, So the Master, God, brings righteousness into full bloom and puts praise on display before the nations.” Isaiah 61:10-11 (MSG)





We're linking up again this week with Holley Gerth and her lovely Coffee for Your Heart concept, offering encouragement to others throughout the year. This week, the writing prompt was "What Brings You Joy?" For more inspiration from other authors and bloggers, head over here. 

7 comments :

  1. Your words are beautiful...I can so connect with this. My life is quieter now, too...and He's teaching me to settle and find the joy even in the simplest days and moments. When I stop to look for that joy, I realized how much there is. :) Thank you for sharing! Oh, and I lost the 7th grade spelling bee to "urbiculture"...it still makes me mad. ;)

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    1. Thanks for your kind words, Mel -- I guess one good thing about losing the spelling bee is that I will NEVER forget how to spell that word, although it's not exactly easy to work into conversation. :) Blessings to you!

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  2. I love this post! I often struggle to find meaning in the mundane day to day of my life as a Stay at Home Mom. This is something I actually wrote about on my blog a few days ago. (here: http://kaelynnjudd.com/index.php/2014/02/when-you-feel-worthless/)

    My favorite part of your post was when you said, "That what we choose to do each day, how we spend our minutes and hours and days on this earth, adds up to something that lasts." Shouldn't that be the goal of every Christian? We should live our lives in such a way that we leave an eternal impact on the world! Thanks for this beautiful reminder.

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    1. Thanks for your encouragement, Kaelynn -- the day-to-day is the hard part for me, too. Overall, I know it's a good thing that I'm able to be home for my children, but on days where they fight constantly or the house is a mess, it's hard to feel the truth of it. Thanks for your kind words!

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  3. Such a sweet way to remind us our life matters! Thank you!

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