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Rose heart


This week has been a blessing for me.  A while ago I heard someone say that she tries to live with “margins” in her life – meaning that she tries to live with a bit of extra time in every day to be able to appreciate the beauty around her.  I’m sure she was quoting someone famous, but I don’t know who, and she didn’t cite her reference.

Over the past year I’ve begun discovering the importance of “living with margins”, and what exactly that means.  Sometimes this is a conscious choice (and battle) to not schedule every moment of her day; sometimes this is simply a choice to look for the beauty found amongst the unavoidable busy.  It’s a way of living life.

Starting a week ago today, I’ve had the gift of very large margins.  Last week Friday did not go as planned.  Not that it was a bad thing (hence the reason no post last week – sorry)!  I got to see people I hadn’t planned on seeing, chat with them, and took a friend grocery shopping.  And then I got to go to a (planned) game night.  It was a great day – just not the blog-writing, sewing, productive one I had planned!

Most of my days since then have been similar to last Friday, mostly because other plans were cancelled.  It was absolutely brilliant.  I have time to spend catching up, and not feeling guilty as I sit and listen to the rain, or taking pictures (can someone say ‘therapy’?) of pretty flowers, or hanging out with friends and youth kids, or really soaking in some wise words of a book, or of a song.  The week has not gone according to plan A…or plan B…or sometimes even plan C, but since I have the time to discover what plan D is, it’s really no big deal.  And I love that.  I want to live my life – as much of it as possible – this way.
I need to learn how to schedule such time into each day; I need to learn that I don’t have to schedule each moment of every day.  It’s NOT a waste of time if there aren’t plans in my calendar.

It’s a different way to spend time, a healthier way.  It’s good.  I cannot tell you how relaxed my spirit is.  I can breathe again.

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An Epic Life

I was driving home from church on Sunday, which means I was driving through the mountains, back down the hill towards Denver.  And, because of the time of year, the mountains are actually green.  This time of year is so pretty.  The mountains are like a girl in a new pretty dress – she wears it and feels pretty in it and shows off a bit in it, twirling and just glowing with the knowledge that she’s pretty and people are noticing.  The mountains are that way in late spring: full of vibrant green grass and trees and bushes.  It’s gorgeous.

And as you drive through them, especially when the morning is cloudy and slightly misty with rain droplets as it was Sunday morning, it feels like you’re in the middle of Middle Earth, or Narnia, or Damar, or someplace epic.  If you have any sort of imagination at all, it wouldn’t be hard to believe that you might see a centaur, or a faun, or an elf, or a hobbit, or a warrior-woman, or a man in a kilt, on the mountainside as you drive by, if you look hard enough.  When it’s misty, and the mountains are green, there is an air of epic-ness.  Something major, something world-shaping is bound to happen.  It’s just gotta!

And I realized today, as I drove through the story-inviting mountains, that something in me is drawn to the idea of epic-ness, of living a life story that is heroic, that is different, that is bigger than myself.

And I think that’s not only me.  It might be only a cushy-culture thing.  Maybe I live such a safe life in this Western culture that does not require a day-to-day striving to survive, that the inner strength that God put in me to get through times of survival, turns into a longing for an epic, larger-than-life story.

Maybe it’s only me, and I need to look into how I’m living my life.

But I don’t think it’s just me.

There are too many people out there who love epic stories, whether in movies or in good-ol’ paper-back form, for me to believe that I am the only one who longs for an epic life story.  There is something about a story with a supremely-evil, definitely-can’t-be-defeated, draws-you-in-and-then-kills-you villain that battles a little know-nothing, toothpicks-for-arms, just-woke-up-on-the-farm this morning good guy who doesn’t stand a chance.  There is something about a story where the good guy has a couple close friends who encourage him and who help him do battle (though, of course, he must do the hardest, most dangerous, impossible part himself) that calls to something within (I’d wager) each human.

We were made for something bigger.  Something in us deeply longs, more intensely than we can even realize, for a life story that is larger than our routines or jobs or love lives or furniture.  Some people just dismiss the longing; others silence it (or try to).

But if you listen to that longing, if you listen to that still, quiet urge that you were created for something larger than iced coffee drinks (it’s okay, I love them too), than your life is never going to be the same.  Because that voice is God, calling you to a life lived that isn’t spent completely or even mostly on you.  That voice is the Holy Spirit in you, reminding you of your part in this redemption dance.

So listen, and follow.  Who knows where it might lead? To green misty mountains, to the dumps in the Phillipines, to a camp in Ecuador, to the red light district in India, to your wealthy self-focused school, to the apathetic, comfortable people in suburbia America.  Who knows?

Listen!  And follow!  After all, no matter how hard you try, this life does not have to be your own.  It is so much more enjoyable when you give it away.

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