Waiting…waiting… our kitten is waiting for something–anything–to fall off the Christmas tree. My younger years were spent waiting: my first doll, bra, period, date, license, car, job, apartment, lover, and love. I waited for what was coming and ignored the ordinary days. I missed much in front of my face. Maybe that’s why many memories are a blur. Waiting built my excitement. Waiting created markers for my growing years. But waiting built expectations that were too often more exciting than the actual experience.
One bonus about aging is that we don’t have time to wait. We can’t waste a moment waiting for life to happen. Every morning we flex our fingers, pump our legs, and set our feet on the floor. We live the in-between moments, the dots connecting those special days. Although our eyesight is fuzzy and we don’t like driving at night, we don’t really miss much in front of our faces. We anticipate each day, knowing that life is what life is.
Our challenge is to embrace the ordinary days, painful days, and empty days as we do the special joys. On a ski trip in Taos, New Mexico, I bought a locally-crafted mug from the yummy breakfast place Gutiz. The manager pointed out the artist’s mistake in its painted print: “Live to its Fullest Life.” This clunky wording makes the message worth remembering!
But when we’re hit with severe tragedy and pain, how can we live fully? What a stupid message when our minds and emotions weep, when we’re emptied and immobile. Years ago, I was broken into shards when my former husband announced, “I want a divorce.” I huddled in a corner, hitting my head against a wall of our empty home. After days of vacuous living, a wise friend sat me down. “You’ve shattered. And like clay, you can be reformed, remolded, re-glued. Day by day, choose a flower that fell from your brokenness or pick a new one, one you’ve been longing for. You have the chance to rearrange the blooms and buds of your life any way you want.” I began to pray and found wisdom from within the devastation of my life. Slowly, I put myself together. That “stupid message” was still meaningful.
We can “live to its fullest life” even in pain because we’re still alive. Our purpose on Earth is to offer others the good parts of ourselves. And through tragedy, others have the chance to offer the good parts of themselves to us. Living each day while waiting for special times births a full life.
These days I’m often with Skittles under the tree. She expects cat toys. I expect God’s love come to Earth. Just a few more sleeps ’til Christmas! But as I watch the dust dance within the filtered sunlight streaming inside our newly-cleaned home, I’m reminded to laugh at life with its expectations, its waiting times, its times of full living.