That’s Life…

***This is a re-post from the early days of A Work of Heart…

I thought that  I would be thinner.  I thought that a paycheck would last beyond a weekend.  I believed that loved ones would live forever.  I thought that I would be published by now.  I thought that parenting became easier with practice.  I was under the false impression that I would embrace gray hairs…I don’t.  I thought that my husband and I would have traveled more.  I was convinced that only other people’s children embarrassed them in public.  I must confess to wanting spontaneous bouquets…for no other reason than just because.  I thought that cluttered would not be my daily existence and foe.  I thought that I would always look like the bride of 21 and not only when I squint my eyes at my reflection.

I thought that I would have more control.

I hold an old piece of cardstock in my hand.  It’s nothing particularly impressive.  Merely a rectangle with bold red print across its borders…”IF LIFE’S A BOWL OF CHERRIES…WHY DO I GET ALL THE PITS?”  I chuckle to myself, remembering the dear friend that offered me the sentiment, an attempt to lighten the load. 

A bookmark, how simple.  I have possessed dozens over the years.  Fancy, plain, ornate in form.  I have even used a receipt or two to mark my page.  It would be grand if one could open a book and never have to close its pages until it was finished.  Since that is a rare occurrence for most, the need for a bookmark becomes all the more useful.

A casual glance at a book will reveal the reader’s location.  Are they at the beginning, the middle or nearly the conclusion?  Where do each of us find ourselves in this life?  Are we just barely starting out, are we sandwiched somewhere in the middle or are we in the twilight of our existence?  Each one of us has a unique location to occupy.

Our lives are like a glorious page turner, in which we are not able to determine the twists and turns.  Had we known which way the details of our lives would align themselves, our lives would be predictable and not the journey that they are designed to be.

There are many times that I feel as if my bookmark has fallen to the ground.  I scramble to pick it up as if by simply holding it in my hand, it will magically replace itself.  I rifle through the pages trying desperately to find my location.  Where am I? If I backtrack needlessly, it is fruitless…territory already covered.  Lessons learned and vision restored.  If I jump ahead of my place, I will only be skipping important details that are essential to any good story.  Oh, it is so tempting to sneak a peek, just one juicy tidbit to keep my interest engaged, but that morsel will be all the tastier when it is revealed and consumed at the proper time.

If someone would have told me 5 years ago that I would be now be in my 40’s, the mother of teens AND a toddler, I am sure that I would have had a hearty laugh.  It was inconceiveable…no pun intended.

However, today with more chapters consumed, some that have been etched with sorrowful seasons, I can see how life has become richer due to the delicious energy of our sweet Caleb.  What we see now is filtered through the lens of a toddler, his prologue.

Yes, I will admit that there are many hopes, dreams and goals YET to be fulfilled.  My timetable is limited by my obscured vision….but I am actually glad that I can’t see it all. 

Today, I resolve to keep my bookmark in the page and chapter of my life.  I won’t peek to see what new plot lies ahead and miss what is right in front of my nose.  I won’t wallow in the early chapters and bemoan missteps of carefree youth.  I will firmly reside in the here and now, knowing that the mundane things of life…the laundry, bills, the dishes, work, bring the sum of my life together.

It is helping a child with homework and going to Disneyland….sweeping up dog hair and blowing bubbles…digging up weeds and jumping waves at the ocean…the first sip of coffee and the last orthodontist payment…a belly laugh over ice cream and letting the sunset remind you of a day well done.

For it is the daily ordinary parts of life that are the glue or maybe even the bookends that encompass the spectacular…that is what I call my life.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.  I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live.  That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil–this is the gift of God.  I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it.  God does it so that men will revere him.”
                                                   Ecclesiastes 3: 11-14 (NIV)

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11 thoughts on “That’s Life…

  1. Beautiful! What a journey. I love how you said, “For it is the daily ordinary parts of life that are the glue or maybe even the bookends that encompass the spectacular…that is what I call my life.” Day by day, our Savior leads us…

    Blessings today dear Helen. I’m glad you posted this again. What an encouragement and a joy!

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  2. Thanks Susan…this is the “nudge” that I eluded to on your blog…I submitted this to that contest…aren’t we brave?

    Thanks for the encouragement!

    Helen

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  3. For it is the daily ordinary parts of life that are the glue or maybe even the bookends that encompass the spectacular…that is what I call my life.

    What a profound statement! Washing dishes, doing laundry, and changing diapers can be holy experiences if we will but let them be. Great piece!

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  4. Hi Angie…thanks for stopping…I will return the visit to you.

    Thanks for your kind words…I do wish that I could say that I always remember that this life is sacred even amongst the mundane but I am increasingly more aware and that is a very good thing and really makes life much more joyous…

    Helen

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  5. muisto says:

    This is just a lovely post, Helen! Thanks so much for sharing – how often do I want to get fastforward to the plot or I think that maybe the chapters before were much easier to read.
    I’ll keep your post in mind now!

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  6. Hi Helen…
    So glad to hear from you…I have been praying for you my sweet friend…I hope each day is bringing a bit more strength as well as comfort.

    Thanks for your words…it is definitely hard at times to stay focused on the present day and not backtrack or wish to fast forward life…I am learning each and every day and each and every season!

    Helen (the other one!)

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  7. I used to have this verse from Ecclesiastes framed in my bathroom. Love this verse. Thank you for sharing another beautiful post. It’s always a treat to visit you.

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  8. Hello Mrs. Jules,

    Thanks for the comments…yes, I love that verse as well…brings a lot of clarity to life doesn’t it?!

    I have been checking on your site over the weekend and haven’t had a chance to comment…you look like you all had a great fun filled weekend…and you always seem to be making the most yummy sounding food…I’ll comment more on your site…

    Blessings,

    Helen

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  9. my timetable obscured by my vision…there you go again with beautiful words to reveal a searching heart…wow…you really are a great writer…and your words fall on listening ears here…i had my last child at 40 when my little ones were 10, 9 and 8…waited 7 years for that baby…but you read my thoughts about age…somewhere i thought that i was achieving more, being the overcomer, crossing that line in the sand and never turning back a glance and being victorious…but what is it about our lives that we can do on our own…and what is it about our lives that we can only do with the help of His Holy Spirit…I was such an overcomer of some MAJOR OBSTACLES that I thought I believed I could do anything for God. Not so. He humbled me a couple of years ago under His mighty hand and I’ve never been the same since that day. So alive now to the things of God not making it happen but letting HIM pour out through me. I’m alive in ways I’ve never been and it’s so good to be in the presence of people like you who are alive too!

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  10. Bev,
    There is a sisterhood of women that have caboose children…aren’t there? When Caleb started preschool on one of the forms, the teacher asked if we had any concerns related to our child…what a question but I answered that I was concerned that he learn to relate to kids his own age because he is surrounded by teenagers…how wonderful when his teacher was giving us some more background on herself and she said she had 3 children in their 20’s and an 8 year old…how we can relate and how she understands my Caleb!
    Thanks for your encouraging words.

    Helen

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