My husband tells me I ask more questions than any person he’s ever known. It’s probably true.
Mom used to tell me I was curious from the beginning with a genuine desire to learn all I could. She called it a zest to investigate and it landed me into some pretty funny situations when I was younger.
I’ve not lost the zest. I wonder about things. I think of a question then search for the answer. Or something catches my eye so I’ll take a closer look.
I was pulling weeds when I noticed a few mushrooms on the other side of the yard. As I walked closer I saw this little family of mushrooms.
I spent the next few minutes or so observing and taking several photos of the mushrooms.
Just because they caught my eye.
We came into this life so generous, alive, unarmored, & curious. Curious, in the best, silliest, most fixated, life-giving way. ~ Anne Lamott
I was at the funeral home last night, gathered with extended family I don’t see often. A lot of us together in one place. There were moms and dads, and brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, and cousins…..lots and lots of cousins. We’re happy to see each other, even under the circumstances, and we say so.
We smile and hug each other, ask about our families and can’t believe he’s driving already or she’s graduated college. We wonder at the children growing up and getting married and having children of their own. We ask “where did the time go” or say “how time flies.” Funeral homes make us more aware of time. More thankful for it, too.
After we catch up with each other, we remember. We think of the ones who aren’t with us. We think of the good times, maybe the hard ones too. We laugh and share stories. My cousin shared long ago stories about his brothers and sister, of growing up with lots of cousins and playing on Sharrott Hill. Then he recalled something about Mom and told me the story.
He was in 2nd grade and she was 17. She took him and a bunch of her other nephews to see a movie called The Blob. He remembers having nightmares that night. He told me Aunt Jan was always so much fun.
My cousin told me a story about Mom I’d never heard.
You are to pay special attention to those who by accidents of time, or place, or circumstances, are brought into closer connection with you. ~ Saint Augustine
We came into closer connection with a lot of people on our trip to Colorado.
Smiles or nods were exchanged with most of the people we saw. Or a slight raise of the hand as I passed fellow runners on the trails. Hikers seem especially courteous.
Words were exchanged with some of the people. An older gentleman commented on the collegiate sweatshirt my daughter was wearing while eating breakfast one day. While strolling downtown, a shopkeeper let us know she could see we weren’t from around there. That started a really nice conversation with her.
The waiter at the restaurant chuckled when my daughter ordered sweet tea then offered her something else.
We met a mother and daughter from Chicago on one of our hikes. The daughter is looking at the local college. Her mother was nervous on the hike, worried about bears and mountain lions but mostly the edges of the mountains and going higher and higher.
We met our son’s friends for the first time. We cooked for them and ate with them. We looked them in the eyes and talked with them and asked them about their lives. I think we were more interested in them than they were in us.
But it was so good to come into closer connection with them.
We learn from others. About them and ourselves. About who we were and who we are and sometimes about who we want to be. We learn about humanity in general.
If we pay attention.
Each one of us has a story. An important one. And we are changed by them.
If we pay attention.
Even from a distance we can be changed and learn from others. I don’t know the climber pictured here on the mountain. When I saw him I was impressed with his smallness. From observing him, I learn that he is brave and he invested a lot of time to be on that mountain.
I’m sure he felt his smallness and that his heart was full of awe and wonder.
Establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands. Psalm 90:17 NIV
There are days I like my job. Problems are solved. Questions are answered. I get things done. Learn something new. I feel really good about my work.
Then there are other days. The days I don’t like my job. Solutions to the problems aren’t found. The questions can’t be answered and the piles on my desk remind me of my frustrations more than anything.
And that’s only the work I do for income. There is my work at home, yard work, and volunteer work. Then there’s the work I do pursuing my hobbies. Like writing or running. Some of you paint or build tables or plan parties.
Whatever the kind – work is a big chunk of our lives. It would be ideal if we liked all of our work all of the time. But that’s not how it is. Even if you have a great job that you love, there will be good days and bad days. Productive days and not so much days. Days with happy co-workers and days with grumpy ones. Some of my most challenging work days were when I stayed home with my children!
Your hobby work will produce beautiful masterpieces some days, and other days nothing. The 4 mile run is easy some days, other days the fight for breath is almost too much. The housework is tedious, the yard work strenuous.
Although much of what we face in our work is out of our control, we can choose to do whatever work we are doing excellently and with care.
There is a story of a young mother named Jane. She was in a desperate situation after her husband died suddenly. So desperate that she went down to the river to drown herself. Across the river in a field a young man was plowing with such skill and care that she became absorbed in the sight of it. She stared and stared as the young man worked diligently. Her amazement “turned to thanksgiving, and her thanksgiving to a sense of purpose. She rose, went forth, and lived a long a productive life.”*
A man doing honest work with remarkable care saved Jane’s life.
Do you work like that?
I hope I do. Work is such a significant part of our lives, we should make sure to do it like it matters.
That’s my Live Like It Matters Challenge to you today. Work like it matters.
Think your job doesn’t matter? Too menial? Think no one notices? It matters to someone. It matters more than you know. I was inspired by the work of a garbage man and shared it in The Extra Mile.
No matter the job – you can do it so that it inspires others.
Hairdressers and accountants and drive-thru order takers and pallet makers and bridal dress consultants and process technicians and movie actors and authors and carpenters and lawn care techs and assembly line workers and engineers.
Your work matters. My work matters.
Work like it matters.
“If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets, even as Michelangelo painted or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
*This story is originally told in Os Guinness’ book The Call and retold by Mark Buchanan in The Rest of God.
On this July 4th, let us remember what true freedom is.
“It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?”
Saint Paul to the church at Galatia (Galatians 5:13-15 MSG)
Isn’t it odd how, whatever our faith and belief may be, we sometimes come to the edge of an idea as though we are about to enter something extraordinary and real, but at the last moment we turn our backs and walk away?