Family photo 2013

Family photo 2013

Thursday, October 03, 2013


In an email my grandma sent me after reading my most recent blog post she included the line "By the way Tisha, I'm 88 and still don't like the way I look!!!!!" Can I just tell you about the ridiculously soop-ah love that surged through my veins and charged the battery of my heart for her in that moment? She totally made me laugh. And she reminded me of the sage advice Ma Ingalls gave her girls:
"This earthly life is a battle," said Ma. "If it isn't one thing to contend with, it's another. It has always been so, and it will always be. The sooner you make up your mind to that, the better off you are, and the more thankful for your pleasures."
Let me ask you, was a woman ever more filled with wisdom than Ma Ingalls? I should say not.

Her words brought to mind a quote from a book I was reading whilst I soaked in a hot bath last night in an attempt to soothe the continual drip of this wearisome head cold I seem to have picked up somewhere along the way. It was talking about a certain amount of sorrow, or melancholy being a crucial component of happiness. It's the "if you never know sadness you can never appreciate happiness" notion.

"You nurture a little melancholia and it's like a buzz that makes you feel alive. You snap yourself a little bit, and you feel this relief of how fragile life is and how tremendously fragile you are." - Eric Weiner quoting Magnus, the sunburned penguin in The Geography of Bliss

And all of this started me thinking of the repetitive grind we so often find ourselves sucked into, like a vortex we can not escape - wanting, yearning, longing for the ever elusive state of arrival. Where we no longer {fill in the blank with whatever negative, fruitless, futile activity you desire}. Not ever.

Arrival: Where we are above and beyond engaging in such foolish nonsense as to compare ourselves to another...or waste time regretting our pasts...or behave in unseemly ways toward loved ones...or become overwhelmed with our first world problems forgetting our significantly suffering neighbors...or magnifying what is marginal at the expense of what is truly important...or delighting in another's shortcomings as a means of elevating ourselves...or callously gossipping...or harshly judging...or taking for granted the beauty and functionality the gift of our wondrous physical bodies...or wishing our spouses were just a little bit more like her spouse...or squandering precious time that should be savored...or falling prey to the far reaching grasp of addiction of any kind...or standing rigidly when we should compromise and compromising when remaining firm is ideal...or harboring unforgiveness...or not restoring what ought to be reconciled...or taking our days for granted, expecting there to always be more...

There is such an endless count to the mistakes and foibles I make, to the ways in which I must reign myself in time and again. To me, learning to graciously accept that life is going to be often difficult and there is always something with which we will wrangle is a beautiful, liberating concept. It keeps the road exciting, the journey alluring, full of new avenues of learning.

Tasting the bitter enhances the sweet and reminding myself that I regularly take part in the sin that so easily besets us helps me remember to always work toward generously pardoning.

I like the idea that there is no permanent destination this side of heaven. I don't want to arrive until I meet Jesus face to face. Although I hope to grow wiser with time and that my actions will reflect what I have learned, I am somehow comforted by the reality that there is always something with which I must contend.

I'm pretty happy at the thought that it will all be just a big batch of glorious maintenance.

Maybe it helps keep us hungry for heaven.

Thank you, grandma.

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