Monday, June 6, 2011

Come Alive

Today, as I write, there is joy and challenge, a sense of purpose. Never mind giving it a week. If my last breath is this moment – I am ready.

My life hasn’t always been this way. For nearly three decades I fought and struggled, felt trapped by life itself; constantly walking in circles, trying different doors, different floors; running from discontent, scurrying down life’s blind alleys and hiding my baggage behind dumpsters; insisting like a three-year-old do by self! Then one day four years after our youngest child left for college, I stood barefoot on our living room floor surrounded by walls that had witnessed more than a century of humanity. In the silent submission of my own exhaustion I found the strength to stop fighting, to focus on the light not the darkness, to commit to doing things I found uplifting and to shoulder the drudgery of the must dos with quiet strength. I was 45 years old.

Today, as I search for an image to depict the years I fought and struggled, I discover a postcard so familiar, so perfectly depicting the architecture of my life, I decide to paste the link into this entry. The postcard is from the International Rotunda, Mission Inn, Riverside CA, where my Uncle Jimmy once worked. In 1978, as a newly licensed driver on a family vacation to California, I was in that rotunda. I had forgotten. I now remember.

In 2007 as I stood barefoot on our living room floor in the moment of submission, I made a conscious decision to bloom where ever God planted me. It sounds hokey, even to me. I look back now and see clearly the change beginning in that instant. It wasn’t always easy. It wasn’t always clear. It took time, nearly five years, as ever so slowly God and I chiseled away parts of my To Do List, letting the unimportant fall to the floor. As we worked, the nonessential must haves created by a world of false promises fell away and a new community came around me. I found myself meeting people – individuals and families – who were not focused on building their portfolios and real estate holdings, but on sharing whatever they owned with friends and neighbors, other people in need. It was utterly refreshing. It was absolutely odd.

As I think back to the Mission Inn that summer, I now envision myself simply sitting on the floor of the lowest level, bare palms held firmly against the cool tile. Instead of running up and down stairways, hurrying from archway to archway and door to door, I sit quietly and look up. I take a breath and simply wait, letting all the possibilities come alive.

International Rotunda, Mission Inn Antique Postcard

Come Alive by Jonathan Mead
Life wastes itself while we are preparing to live. – Ralph Waldo Emerson If you had one week left to live, would you still be doing what you’re doing now? In what areas of your life are you preparing to live? Take them off your To Do list and add them to a To Stop list. Resolve to only do what makes you come alive. Bonus: How can your goals improve the present and not keep you in a perpetual “always something better” spiral? (Author: Jonathan Mead)

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