My feed is not quiet these days. Each day, the ante of insanity that has become this election cycle is upped a bit more and I’m pretty sure we’ve not yet reached the zenith. It’s a heyday for pundits and comedians, but the rest of us are left wondering whether our nation will be able to absorb the maelstrom we’re bracing for in the next four years.
And yet, for all of its noise, that gathering maelstrom has been at the fringes of my life. I see it and note it, but I’ve got way too much life going on in my home right now to get caught up. Despite the circus going on politically, I think many of us have our heads down doing LIFE – getting kids fed and our office work done, the insurance calls returned and dinner dishes cleared.
The headlines grabbing attention stay at the fringe because though they may impact my world, they don’t really change my LIFE.
Life is a full house home for spring break.
Life is celebrating the picture drawn, the basketball shot, the biology test.
Life is morning chores, afternoon laundry and dinner-time stories.
Life is hugging tight and listening when the tears come and the missing hits hard.
Life is pausing for the phone call when a hundred other things are waiting for you.
Life is stopping to play because it’s low tide and there’s so much to explore.
This past week, I read And It Was Beautiful, the last book written by Kara Tippetts. Kara was a mom of four young kids, wife to her church-planter husband and popular writer at Mundane Faithfulness. Kara was diagnosed with breast cancer and chronicled her life and journey, emotions, hope and faith so bravely and authentically until her death at 39.
Her honest words on living well and intentionally have been a stark contrast to the flashing, angst-driven headlines in my feed this week. They’ve been a respite and reminder that when all is said and done — faith, love and kindness to the people in my life are what will remain.
Suffering comes laced with good gifts and one of those is clarity. Suffering chisels out the meaningless in life and makes those under its training razor focus on what really matters.
Those are the lessons of And It Was Beautiful. Listen to Kara’s beautiful bucket list. When she knew that her life story was coming to a close, THIS was the life that mattered:
1) Live with deep forgiveness to share and honest repentance with those you love. Keep short accounts and don’t find offenses that aren’t there.
2) Live each day intentionally. It’s hard, and I often fail and fall into lazy mode. But I try to spend my days looking deeply into the eyes and lives of those I love. I stare. I smile. I do my best to remember to laugh. Even with all the hard in my life, it’s still a wonderful life that deserves attention.
3) The time I spent in the past leaning on and learning of God serves me well now. It was time well spent. Don’t neglect your heart and your faith in the seasons where all is well. The seasons will change and you’ll be glad for the foundation you have.
4)Don’t squander a moment. I understand small talk, but I’m now at the point where I believe small talk is for small people and God wants us to live big. Ask the hard questions, have the deep conversations, contribute to what’s meaningful and real about life. The pretend story is not really a story at all.
5) Reach out. I regret the comfort I kept myself isolated in for so many years. God has lavished His undying love on us, so why don’t we extend ourselves armed with love to our hurting neighbor? Yes, we’re selfish. But we can be better than that, we really can. Reach out.
The news feeds may flash. They may threaten and they will undoubtedly change the world we live in. Yet, beneath all the flashing and the changing, we choose our life. What matters and who matters. What legacy we will leave and the aroma that will linger with those we’ve touched.
I highly recommend Kara Tippett’s book, And It Was Beautiful – Celebrating Life in the Midst of the Long Goodbye. What a refreshing, faith-filled, encouraging and honest read.
I’m giving away the complimentary copy I was given to review. To be entered, just leave a comment by Sunday at midnight and I’ll have rafflecopter randomly choose a winner. **UPDATE: Congratulations to Holly H. for being selected the winner of this giveaway!