I wrote then, and am bringing it up again because it seems relevant to what I'm trying to bring out:
Too often, I "serve my time" and endure what ought to be a delight. Thereby I lose the privilege of drawing closer to what I am intended to be. Thereby I close myself into a little box, limiting myself to finding delight in what I naturally have a preference for.And Leonie asked about our February Challenge, so I have been thinking about that too. Keeping in mind what I learned from my January Challenge, and especially considering that Lent is starting soon, I wanted to think a bit through the balance between challenge and rest, between fast and feast, between blessing and bearing, between delight and desolation. What's the differential? : ) Where ought I to set my sights? "Upon the hills" -- it's obvious, but what does that come down to, or raise up to? Stephanie wrote in my comment box:
If my earthly father freely gave us the money to finish our house - just poof! made a gift of about a half a million dollars or something - and then there I sat, in the house of my dreams, would my next move be to complain about maintenance? Worry about overindulging in enjoyment? Or ... would it show proper gratitude to do maintenance with joy - and put out fresh flowers with joy - and just sit in it and breathe - with joy! Life as we know it IS "two desserts a dayThis seems to evoke (beautifully) what I am trying to get at, too. It's probably no accident that the time I felt the most joyous about the tiniest things -- a walk with my husband to get a latte at the nearby bookstore, a cuddle with my precious 3 year old, an infant hand reaching to clasp my finger -- was when we were hanging, minute by minute, at an intensive care unit waiting to see if my inestimably dear infant would live or die. Life somehow became a a trickle of moments that were like treasures, and the pain, which was intense, didn't take that away in the least.
...I just think it's crummy to take the gifts of Love Himself, and then fuss over them like some kind of fretful spoiled rotten lady of the house who doesn't know if that priceless vase "goes" with her carefully matched suite of furniture. --- Or being presented with a banquet of exquisite foods and then saying "oh, no - I couldn't." --- It's just not that complicated to "come as a child," laugh when things delight, cry when there is pain, fast for the good of your self-control and feast for the celebration of bountiful Love. It's just not that complicated!
I don't think there is a reason why I shouldn't be able to keep that joy in regular life.... except that so often, I don't. It shows up in contrast to pain. When I'm comfortable, it's easy almost to get cluttered in my soul and start "being troubled by many things".
This reminds me, for some reason, of this post, which I liked very much, at Poiema Portfolio:
Thrift as a Strategy
The words "thrifty" and "frugal" can both be traced to root words that suggest healthy growth. "Thrift" is related to "thrive" as in a thriving plant; and "frugal" has a Latin root that is equivalent to "fruitful". Both words have very positive connotations and yet to many (maybe most) people they conjure up mental pictures of boring old misers.I think perhaps we can choose to treasure the things around us and that if I have trouble doing this in my regular life, perhaps it's because I'm somehow looking past all the treasures.
It goes back to seeing beauty in what is around me. I suppose to be honest I worry that if I focus too much on what is good around me I will forget to work on what is not so good. I read somewhere, though, that this tends not to be really so in practice. Perhaps it's a bit like when I cleaned my house the other day. Seeing it looking so (relatively) beautiful, I wanted to preserve and maintain that beauty. It woke a love in me that I didn't have when I didn't see its beauty.
Closing this muddled post now -- these are some things I'm trying to think through for this Lent, so I hope you can bear with it!