It seems like ages ago, now, that I started a blog.
At the time I was trying to deal with a heartbreak by focusing on the positives in life. I wanted to remind myself there were still reasons to hope.
I wanted an outlet.
I needed a voice.
So I wrote, as I healed. As a way of making sense of it all.
Last year I lost sight of that, in big and small ways.
And I struggled to know how to come back from a place of not feeling much hope at all.
I didn’t feel like there was much worth writing about.
I didn’t feel like I had anything to say.
And I continue to struggle, daily really, with the meaning of life. The purpose behind it all.
I suppose I’ve embarked on what will be a lifelong journey of grasping. Searching. Reaching. Praying. Asking. Digging. Clawing.
For light. For air.
Some days are better than others. Some easier. Some lighter.
But I’m trying, once again, to trust that even on the hardest days, there’s reason to hope.
And thankfully, when I remember to look, I can almost always spot some glimmer of truth.
And I so appreciate you letting me share those with you.
*This post was drafted on Feb. 18, 2014.
Funny how a year later every single word still rings true to me,
which is precisely why I thought I'd finally share.*
Last Saturday was one of those mornings that started on the wrong foot. From the second I opened my eyes I knew it would be a doozy.
I knew there would be unseen battles to be fought.
I knew hope would be hard to find.
And the first challenge hit halfway into making breakfast, when I realized we had no tortillas for the breakfast tacos Mikael was already preparing.
Deconstructed tacos, with just chorizo and tortilla chips might fly on Chopped, but I wasn’t about to have it.
So, very reluctantly, with messy hair and holey pajama pants, I got into our out-of-inspection vehicle and headed up the street to the ever-crowded dollar store.
Did I mention I’m not a morning person, and that this was pre-coffee?
Well it was, and I felt kinda like a monster, shamefully heading inside, looking the kind of hot mess I swore I’d never be (in public, unless there was a fire necessitating my swift home departure).
With cheap tortillas in one hand, and a pint of milk in the other, I barreled towards the checkout line, hoping to avoid any and all eye contact.
But when I rounded the Coke case, I was cut off by a little girl. One with blonde curls and pink cowboy boots.
She couldn’t have been more than three or four.
“Bubbles. Bubbles,” she said to her grandfather.
“When we get outside can I blow bubbles?”
“Can you take this so I can hold my bubbles?”
“Can I blow my bubbles now?”
It wasn’t the sort of tantrum begging I’ve come to expect so close to a rack of candy.
Instead it was a sort of dignified, earnest pleading, more like what you’d see in a courtroom than a playground.
She was blocking several customers’ way, including my own, but you have to be a total Grinch to hold a grudge against a cheerful toddler.
So I quickly gave up my grimace, and took my place behind her in line, as she pleaded her case to her very patient grandpa.
I don’t know if he granted her permission or not, but it didn’t matter. By the time he had started the checkout process, her excitement was simply too much to contain.
So there she was, all smiles. A precious little girl, blowing bubbles, in the crowded checkout line at the dollar store on a Saturday morning.
Completely undeterred by all the grumpy adults around her.
As happy as I’ve seen any human in my life.
And watching her, just blowing and popping her bubbles, as if all was right in the world, even I couldn’t help but smile.
“I got that one,” she said, this time looking up at me.
She had to make sure I saw how great she was at popping bubbles, which I did.
“You got it,” I said, smiling bigger now.
And then, the little cowgirl asked a simple question that changed the course of my day.
“Do you wanna try?”
She gestured to her tiny bubble wand.
For a second I worried about knocking the poor girl over with my awful morning breath, or what her grandpa would think about a stranger hijacking his granddaughter’s bubbles.
But the doubts dissipated quickly, when I realized what a heinous thing it would be to turn down such an innocent, selfless offer.
I did what any decent human being would.
I blew a bubble, or attempted it anyways.
“Oops; I’m not very good at this,” I said, when my lame attempt didn’t produce a single bubble.
But without missing a beat, she so graciously responded.
“That’s okay. I’ll show you how.”
And then she did.
At this point her grandfather had finished checking out, and was telling her it was time to go.
“That’s really good,” I said to her, as they headed out.
And yes. I’m a sap. I can be wildly emotional at times.
It was a bad morning. I was tired. And yadda yadda yadda.
But I swear to you, I teared up just a little as I placed my tortillas on the conveyor belt.
‘Cause for a brief moment I forgot about the cynical adult I’ve become.
I forgot about my bedhead, and bad breath, and the myriad of reasons I didn’t want to be around anyone – much less strangers – on that frigid weekend morning.
I forgot about our slow-leaking tire. And how much I hate that perpetually crowded dollar store.
For a tiny glimmering second I let myself be ushered into a magical moment.
For a second I caught a glimpse at what life would be like if I believed, like a child, that life is fundamentally good, instead of some cosmic game of Mouse Trap, set to capture me while I run this rat race we think is life.
Years ago I remember seeing a movie, in which a father exclaims he would give anything to feel as excited as his kids get about bubbles.
I laughed at the sentiment, but I didn’t really get it.
Until last Saturday.
When every bit of my soul-crushing adult cynicism, was confronted with the pure amazement of a child.
Seeing the delight on that little girl’s face, I finally understood what he meant.
Kids get it.
Even Jesus said that.
It’s adults with the problems. The inability to truly see.
Honestly, I’ve spent a lot of time lately dwelling on how awful and hard and unjust life is.
I’ve expelled so much energy worrying about flat tires, 5-year-plans, and what to have for dinner, that there’s never much energy left to enjoy the little things that used to excite me.
It’s no wonder I fail to see all the beauty that exists, when I’m so caught up in focusing on all that’s wrong with the world instead.
Yes, grocery store runs come at the least opportune times.
Yes, cars need fixing. And bills need paying.
Yes; deadlines need meeting.
And stress. Stress. Ick. Adulthood = stress.
I get it. I get how hard it can be to simply show up each day.
To face the challenges that await, without cowering, or crawling back in bed.
Forget forcing a smile on your face.
Some days it’s hard enough to just remember to breathe.
Sometimes life seems utterly, hopelessly, impossible.
But the little girl with her bubbles reminded me of something, that I'd like to remind myself (and you) of now.
In her simplicity, and her tiny cowgirl boots, she knew a secret I’d long forgotten.
A secret lost somewhere along the way.
Life is meant to be enjoyed, not survived.
At least, that’s what her giggles and beaming face told me.
Happiness is meant to be shared, not hoarded.
That’s what her selfless gesture taught me.
And when hope seems lost, don’t lose heart.
There’s more joy than can be contained, right there for the making.
I’m off to blow some bubbles, friends.
I hope you have a wonderful (rejuvenating) weekend.