Sunday, June 8, 2014

Who needs water anyway?

So I have a problem.  A problem keeping things alive.  More specifically plants.  I don't know what it is but I just cant keep them living.   No, I know exactly what it is.  I ignore them.  There I said it.  I ignore them and just let them go.  I like the idea of them.  They are pretty.  They smell good. It's the work that it takes to keep them that way that I can't handle.  Every year I start out all gung-ho. I buy the mulch, I buy the potting soil.  My mom comes over and plants new starts from the plants that are just "getting too big."   She's kind of got a green thumb.  She can just walk by a flower or plant and it immediately grows five new buds.   I promise myself every year that this year will be different.   This year, I'll stick with it. This year, I'll have the prettiest yard in the neighborhood.  And then, a week goes by and I realize I forgot to go out and pull those weeds.  Two weeks go by and my mom stops over to cut off the flowers that had bloomed and died and are still there sucking the life out of my new growing ones.  Three weeks go by and "oh crap! I forgot to water them and it hasn't rained yet!" I finally get around to tending to  my beautiful growing flowers, only to see that they've completely dried up.  The buds are withered and the soil has turned to dust.   But you know what's amazing??  Most of the time, if I water them really really good at that point, they'll come back.  Flowers are pretty resilient.   They want to  live and thrive.   Every time I see them bounce back I'm amazed.  How in the world did they survive what I just put them through??

Isn't that how our lives are sometimes?  We want a life full of happiness and joy , but we don't want to do anything about it.   Instead, we neglect it.  We ignore it and hope that  it will just grow on its own because that's easier.   When we finally take a look, we are dried up.... But, just like the flowers, we are resilient.   We want to live and survive. We want to be "beautiful."    Whatever that means to you, do it.  If it means digging into your bible it.  If it means giving up something that you've been holding on to, then just like the dead flowers that were sucking the life out of the ones trying to grow, cut it off.    Whatever it takes to make you bloom, do it.  Yes, it's work. Yes it's hard, but believe me, you are worth it!!

This picture above was taken this morning (eek!)   Here's to hoping that in a few days, this will be the beautiful blue plant that I know it can be!

Friday, June 6, 2014

be still

A few months ago I got my second tattoo.  The words “be still” are now permanently inked on my right shoulder blade.  As I was telling the tattoo artist what I wanted, he verified that I didn’t want  “and know” to be part of the piece.  I told him that the two words were all that I needed.  Most people know this phrase as Psalm 46:10 that says “be still and know that I am God.”  This verse speaks to many and has gotten them through  times they feel they cannot go on, so I’m not discouraging it.  For me, though, the “be still” part is what I was after.   

The older I get, the more I am drawn to nature.  Over the past couple of years, I’ve also gotten into running.  The most perfect thing in the whole wide world to me is a nice long run on a quiet, tree lined trail; no one around but the birds and flowers.  Now granted, I run with music (still haven’t managed to give that up yet), but there is just nowhere in the world I would rather be than out in nature, experiencing it.   When the run is over and the ear buds come out, it’s just me and the trees…and there is something so beautiful about that: just standing there taking in the beauty that God created.

This is what the words “be still” mean to me.  In addition, this is the one time that I am forced to slow down.  If you know me at all, you know that I’m a ‘doer.’  I have to be busy. I enjoy being busy.  I do, but at times, it’s exhausting. Not necessarily physically exhausting, but more mentally exhausting.   I get so wrapped up in things and projects that my mind gets overwhelmed.  It’s very hard for me to just sit still when my head has a list 3 miles long of things that need to be done or finished.  Running is my way of getting away from that.  When I’m running, my mind turns to the bigger things in life.  I don’t know if it’s the extra oxygen being flooded to my head, but instead of laundry and dishes, it starts to wander to life and what’s really important. That clarity for the 45 minutes (or longer depending on the miles) is truly addicting. 

Little did I know that these two little words would continue to take shape and mold into something even greater.  Life is crazy.  Life is hard. It’s beautiful, yes, but it’s also extremely hard some days.  In the times when life isn’t easy, when it’s not all butterflies and roses, when it’s maybe easier to throw your hands in the air and give up, be still.    Be. Still.  Be still and rest in the fact that you may not know some things….and that is okay.  Rest in the beauty that good things take time.  Those trees that bring me so much peace and joy take years to grow.   You may only be able to see one step in front of you, step anyway.  Breath in, breath out…repeat.


“Wisdom comes once we learn to become still…In the silence of the heart, one learns the journey of the wise.”