All in Reflections

Waiting for Good Things

This means that, for all intents and purposes, the satisfaction that comes from enjoying a good thing is nearly always preceded by careful preparation and self control in anticipation of enjoying that good thing. I won’t relax to a show unless the dishes are put away and everything in my apartment is in its proper place. If I’m starving and preparing a meal, I won’t take bites beforehand because I want that first mouthful to be the best thing since sliced bread. I usually work out hard in the morning before I have breakfast or shower, because getting in sweat and grit prior to doing anything else that day gives me such a rush of accomplishment.

Five Things We All Need To Be Enjoying A Lot More

So, if you’re feeling blahh or unsatisfied or tired or anything remotely lukewarm inside, I encourage you to seek out these five things, or even just one of them. I think that most of these things are why even poor people can be authentically joyful and radiantly happy, or conversely, why successful people who seem to have it all come up feeling empty on the inside. These things are what make the spiritual and physical composite clocks inside of us tick, and we all could do with doing our best to cultivate them, water them, and take advantage of them as best we can.

Still Good

When my dad died, I received so many messages and letters, but one in particular from my brother-in-law has stuck with me. It wasn’t long, but this line jumped out of the paper: “He is still good.” And every time that I return home, I remember this truth. I intermingle with a family that has unhealed wounds, old arguments, and tensions, still recovering from the aftermath, but He is still good.

At Home

Entering into my grandma’s house with what would surely be the last time, I felt an overwhelming rush just in the smell of that home that greeted me with opening the door. I noticed all of the old, familiar, dear photographs on the wall and all the little trinkets of dogs and lighthouses and boats that she loved to keep. Touching her four-poster bed again, putting away all of her lockets and rings, gently packing away pots and pans and lamps and trays: it all was heavy, heavy, heavy with meaning.

On Rest and Guilt

ut when I stop the hurriedness of my life to play with Leo on the living room floor, to relax on the couch with coffee and a friend, to talk on the phone for two hours with my mom, to paint something that I have no intention of selling or photographing, it is a constant temptation for me to scold myself interiorally.

On Discovering and the Like

I had always heard of an artistic experience in which the artist wasn’t really meticulously planning a piece, but rather, he was just discovering it with his hands and his eyes as it took shape right within the making of the thing. I had never quite understood that, though, because the “creation” of art was always some very calculated study of something that I almost fought for after hours and hours of work. The end product was always the true moment of satisfaction and joy for me: look, look what I have completed.

On Marie Kondo-ing My Wardrobe

It’s a good exercise in interior simplicity to say “thank you, next” to the parts of life, no matter how small and insignificant, do not spark that joy within you. For while material things cannot provide happiness, it makes more sense to me to keep only those goods that remind you of beauty and comfort and that invoke a spirit of intentional living and happiness, and to shed what does not.

On Earthly Christmases

So, for all those Christmas mornings with my dad musing how special we all were, I have such conviction that his belief in the power of love was what he really meant all along. My family’s glory and uniqueness is really all that special, because we now laugh joyfully in the face of agonizing pain, we now continue to love without measure in the midst of bitter suffering. That is special. That is great. To have incarnational hope like this is radical.

My Non-Instagrammable Life

But you know what? I kind of don’t care anymore. I used to be paranoid about blasting my sometimes bland, sometimes messy, sometimes not so glamorous life on social media. Now that I think of building memories with my kid, and making moments that will exist only in our wild mid-twenties, I have become totally okay with the fact that my life doesn’t look like inside of a Gap catalog.

Leisure and Laziness, Etc.

Is there a difference between true leisure and laziness? Yes, I think so, but sometimes what is lazy one day can be leisure the next. It takes a close attentiveness to the rhythm of our lives to discern what it is we are supposed to be doing in the present moment. My dad once said that if he was asked what he’d like to be doing when the world ended, he would answer that he’d like to be doing exactly what he was supposed to be doing, whether that was relaxing or saving the world.

On Seasons

How precious and unique is each of these, and how foolish I would be to spend all of a season wistfully dreaming of the next. How silly would it be for me to dwell upon the deary or tiresome parts of each season instead of choosing to savor the very thing I was experiencing.

On Turning Outwards

As it turns out, serving and loving others is one of the best things you can do reassure yourself that, yes, I am enough and I doing good things. This call to be mother affirmed me from the inside out, even amidst the late nights and pumping in the break room and sleep deprivation.

On Fleeting, Beautiful Messes

So, I challenge you to take a few minutes to mentally open the painful wounds that we like to keep tucked away. Allow the realness of those memories to spark within you a deeper commitment to living with a breath of thankfulness on your lips, and recommit yourself to embracing the mess of your life, because it is within that beautiful mess that the precious moments of your life will come and go.