I only get one shot at this blog. Tomorrow, I will be thirty seven and one day old. Therefore, I feel the pressure to put to writing all that I am feeling and thinking in exactly the right way.
We feel this pressure not just on birthdays, but almost any day of the year. Especially as women. We get this once chance to do it all right. Our kid will never be in PreK again so the cupcakes must be just right. The school picture day will only be once therefore the outfit must match. There is only one more day to be 36, therefore I must make it count.
But what about all the other days that seem to add up like an enormous snowball and seem to grow into one blur of a season leaving us to wake up and ask, where did the time go?
The little stresses, the countless decisions that we must make in a days time can distract us from the bigger picture of daily living.
For me… the things that are out of reach, the impossible dreams, the unreachable answers and the unfixable moments of life that come aiming at us are the times when I throw my hands up in surrender and rely on God to do what He does best. Those things, I know I can’t do, so I rely and I trust.
It’s the small things that trip me up. Where will my kids go to school? Should I spend my money on this? Should we make this decision or that one? And although I believe that in whatever we do, we should rely on the Lord for His answers and His direction, I don’t believe that we should waste away our days spending so much time on the things that may not even matter when the clock strikes twelve.
What I mean is at the end of my 36th year, I wasn’t reflecting on all of the decisions I had made or the lack of decisions I didn’t make because I was too stressed to make them. I wasn’t reflecting on what my house looked like, the calendar ahead or the fact that some of my clothes that I wear were also existent in my college wardrobe and if I told you how long ago that was, you would ask if I needed moth balls for my attire. None of the things that too often I spend my time worrying about didn’t matter when I began to reflect on my life over the last year.
On the last day of my 36th day of my life… I spent the day looking at my kids with thankfulness that they were mine. I cleaned my house for the first time in months with thankfulness that I lived here and that He chose to move us into this beautiful place we call home. I spent the evening running with my husband who has built me up, encouraged me and allowed me to feel like the most protected and valued girl in the world. And I am realizing that the things that I am most thankful for are the ones that I see every day.
It has taken me a long time to fully get this. With much regret and honesty, it has usually been the ones that I say I love the most who have often taken the back burner. When I am tired, they don’t often get the face that I would give a friend if they decided to randomly stop by my house. They get the tired, real me, way too often. They get my boycotts when I decide I am overworked and I refuse to wash another dish in my kitchen sink. They get the whining about my tall grass after a week of rain and knee high weeds.
And it’s ok. Because it’s safe. I get all of their bad qualities too. But are my good qualities being reserved for them? Do they get all of my love language to serve and be hospitable with my time and my actions? Am I making them cookies to speak into their heart like I am for the neighbor next door? Am I cleaning up their toothpaste dribbles with thankfulness because I know that one day those little mouths will have their own sink, in their own home? Am I showing my husband love with my time, my words and my acts of service, everyday, not just when I feel like it.
Making new friends, keeping old friends and being a good friend is hard in your thirties. And I am assuming that it may always be hard no matter what generation you are in. But I spent the last night in my 36th year asking myself…. am I giving the same effort to my outside friendships that I am to the ones on the inside?
Because inside my home is where my true friends lie. They embrace me amidst my flaws. They laugh at my dancing and my cooking. They serve me with paper cards, ribbons and all things hand-made. They miss me when I am away and they take joy in the things that bring me joy. I say, I wanna be a writer and they buy me paper and pen. I say, I wanna be a flight attendant and they say good job mommy and clap. I say what I desire and they desire it too.
Because they love me. And I love them.
Time is so precious. I don’t have to tell you all the reasons it is, because you already know. You have lost someone you love too soon. You know someone or you are someone with a diagnoses that brought perspective to your days. You’ve experienced job loss, financial distress to see that all of these things here on earth are just meaningless without real Purpose. You don’t need someone to tell you how short life is.
But maybe you do need a reminder to spend it wisely. I don’t want to wake up one day and look back over my life and describe my days as one big snowball of meaningless events that feel like a big blur. I don’t want to wake up one day and realize that the very, most important thing in my life are the people who fill my home just before they decided to leave it. I don’t want my husband to ever question my deep love and respect for him as the one that was perfectly chosen to be my better half. And I don’t ever want my kids to question their importance in regards to them and earthly things.
What we give our time to determines what our heart is attached to. Our work, our money, our homes, our hobbies…. all good and needed things. But I want my time to reflect my love and admiration to the ones that make me who I am today.
Hello, T H I R T Y – S E V E N.
Another year to learn that what is really important, isn’t a what, but a who.