Monday, March 1, 2010

Life and More Life

I had a pithy, snarky post all brewing up in my head to explain the drought between meaningful posts in recent weeks. But in the hours between my intellectual musings and craftings of strategic plays on words and my actual sitting to type said musings and craftings, it has all disappeared. Why, oh why can I NOT get fantastic brainstorms and high-brow humor running out of my brain and onto the keyboard at normal hours of the day? Why must it always start my synapses firing at 2:38 a.m., when I'm rolling The Boss over for the third time? Why must I lay in my bed at 4:23 a.m. cracking myself up when at 4:23 p.m. I was all but prostrate on the floor begging for some relief from the noise and the chaos of five kids and a schizo kitty?

I've been largely absent around here for the last couple weeks, I know. The death of our friend really created ripples and aftershocks that are still being felt. And will be for a long time, I'm sure. The chaos of interrupted routine due to snow, snow, more snow, and unexpected travel followed by more snow has confused us all. Did I mention we've gotten a lot of snow lately? Additionally, our church has been dealing with several losses of family members and sicknesses that require we stand together to care and support. Our own little Gang has been dealing with some things, ranging from The Boss's work atmosphere to a testing toddler. It's been a hard, long season. I'm not all that sorry to see February depart.

I try really hard to be a positive person, to have an outlook that says, "I am blessed. I have much for which I can and should give thanks." I enjoy looking for the things around me to celebrate. It's part of the reason I love the Olympics. I mean, in the dead of the winter, every four years, we get to unite as a nation to see amazing feats of courage and bravery and commitment. We get to see sportsmanship at its best, team work honed to perfection, and character tested and shown worthy.

It's no secret to those of you who know me (and who have been privileged to follow me on F@ceb**k during these games!) that I am a huge Men's Speed Skating fan. Specifically short track. Specifically Apolo Anton Ohno. Yes, I am fully aware of his obvious physical charms. I agree, he's very easy on the eyes. But that's really not why I love watching him skate. I'm sure it won't surprise any of you that I have voraciously done tons of reading on him and his teammates. As much as I can get away with. . . and still be a good Momma and good wife, that is. And everything that I've read just screams of his dedication, his single-minded focus, and his drive to follow his passion. You can SEE it when he's out there on the ice. He's strategic, he's intentional, and he's all about doing his personal best when tested. When viewed through that lens (the lens of what I've learned about him and about the sport), it's nothing short of inspirational. In fact, it reminds me much of the Apostle Paul. He, too, was strategic, intentional, and pressed to offer his best when tested. Please don't read what I am NOT saying. It's just that in this season of my life, I've been watching the Olympics with a different perspective.

I've been feeling tested lately. (NOT just by my adorable Li'l Empress, either!) Oh, I know, it's normal every day life stuff for the most part. But it's no less challenging to navigate. In fact, in my view, the fact that it's normal every day life stuff makes it sometimes all the more challenging. I mean, to choose to view it as a test, as a race to a medal, to race in a way that proves me worthy of the calling He has placed upon me is hard. Most of the culture around me tells me it's just life. It's not that hard. And if it is that hard, "it's just not supposed to be." As if I could or should choose to either ignore it or just accept it. Neither prospect really sits well with who I am. Who I know I am called to be.

Philippians 3:12-14 (TNIV)

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

Some of it isn't every day life stuff. Some of it is stuff being revealed within me that, frankly, I find repulsive and ugly. New views of my selfishness. A peek into the utter gunk of unresolved anger. Far too intimate glimpses of unconfessed sin. None of it pretty. None of it pleasant. All of it covered. By His Grace. By His Sacrifice. Yet all of it needing to go now that it's been revealed. It's the training phase that no athlete really loves. But it's the hard work that is required. The proving that tests one's mettle. And gets one over that finish line after a messy, dirty, chaotic fight of life.

And I'm good with that. I mean, I'm good with it being rooted out, in terms of appreciating the end result. It's just the process and the journey that I'm not loving. It's painful. It's messy. But it's worth it. It's that gold-medal round of contest. THAT'S the real life that I'm shooting for. That's the finish line I'm clumsily skating toward. It's what I'm clinging to.

James 1:12 (The Message)

"Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life."


Julie said...

I've been gone for a while too. So sorry to hear you lost a close friend. I'll be praying for all of you. Hang in there, brighter days are ahead:)

Aus said...

Wow - you're putting a lot out there! For our part - we'll keep ya'll in our prayers - we'll accept the role of the folks sitting in mostly empty stands watching the practice - but after you win the gold we'll join you on the ice for a cigar and a beer - ok? ;)

hugs - aus and co.

The Gang's Momma! said...

Well, Aus. . . I just don't want to live a life of so-so. I want to "leave it all on the ice" and slide at full speed across that finish line. To do that requires the nasty sweat and discipline of training. Right?!

I heard a quote the other day that resonated with me: "Be the kind of woman that, when you put your feet on the floor in the morning, the Devil says, 'Oh Crap, she's up again!'"

A bit crasser that what I'm trying to say here, but means much the same thing. Just getting to the point of being a huge annoyance to the Enemy of the Kingdom takes hard work and focus!

heidi @ ggip said...

Yes, you have definitely had a challenging month.

But one thing I often wonder is if life is meant to be hard. Not is life NOT meant to be easy, but is it just hard because life is hard. Does that make any sense.

And thanks for your comment on my post. I can resonate a bit with what you were saying. I think it is self-centeredness and pettyness that really gets to me lately. Maybe it shouldn't, but it is right now :)

The Gang's Momma! said...

Heidi, interesting perspective! I don't know that I think it's SUPPOSED to be hard - in the "Oh this is so hard" whiney sense. Rather, a challenge and a journey for those who choose it to be so. I think the pop culture "If it's too hard, something must be wrong" attitude is what I am most reacting to in this post. That's not who I want to be. But the kind of hard I'm talking about is choosing the hard stuff, doing the hard thing, over letting it all be so easy. Training and discipline like an athlete. Certainly not fun, and always messy, but for a goal.

Thanks for stopping by. You always bring a great way of looking at things.

Faith Quest'r said...

I loved reading about your tossings in the wee hours of the morning!!!! So Classic and so true. It's the price of possessing a gifted and creative mind :)