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)