Live Deliberately

Live deliberately.

From time to time, as I am working hard to get out of my own way, the words of Henry David Thoreau creep into my subconscious.

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Live deliberately.  On purpose.  With a purpose.  With goals.  With faith.  With belief that it all matters.  Not just in this world, but in eternity.

There are countless things in this life that are running out of control.

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Last week in church, I held the hand of a woman who is trying to establish her life here in the United States while her family originates half a world away.  I know very little about her, but I cried with her as she was enduring the loss of 6 family members who had all died in a car accident.  Out of her control.  Immeasurable pain.  No words.  Just prayer that she arrive safely to be with her remaining family.

Then there is my internet friend in Australia, whose daughter has endured more brain surgeries than I can count.  This week things went badly.  The surgery was aborted.  They had to make a new plan.  Her daughter- beautiful, 20ish, and full of life.

And another story I follow closely, of an acquaintance whose mom became septic in December after routine surgery.  The trials cause my heart to ache.

We could all list stories here.  Heck, I could go on for pages, the old friend whose brother is battling cancer… and so on.

I could fill this page with the struggles of my daughter this week.  Battling the demon that is Cowden’s Syndrome – and whatever else has crept into her body to accompany it.  I could write about the nights spent holding, and wishing, and praying that the pain be gone, or that God help us make some sense of her agony.  I could continue in frustration about the thyroid hormones all askew.  And the general lack of knowledge that greets us at most facilities.  But I won’t.  At least not today.

Today I am reflective about Thoreau’s words.  Today I am thinking about what it means to live deliberately.

I can not control tragedy.

I can not control pain.

I can not control sickness.

I can not control sadness.

I can not control life’s twists and turns.

I can not control the course of Cowden’s Syndrome or any other aspect of our lives.

No matter how badly I want to.  I can’t.

And, I also can’t make sense of most of it.

So, I have a choice.

I can sit here and mull it over.  I can feel everyone’s hurt and pain.  I can reflect on the unfairness of it all – or I can live deliberately.

I choose to hug my husband.  Because I don’t do that enough.

I choose to rub a dog’s belly.  Because it’s good for both of us.

I choose to eat well, and get and stay as healthy as I can.

I choose to be involved in passionately sharing my love for good nutrition and the products helping me find it.

I choose to take a deep breath when I am stuck in traffic.

I choose to deliberately try and turn lemons into lemonade.

I choose to use my grief over the loss of my loved ones, and channel my energy into the most positive outlets I can find.

I choose to get involved in raising awareness – of Cowden’s Syndrome and other RARE diseases.

I choose to get involved in things I feel passionate about, and not in things that bring me down.

I choose to advocate tirelessly for my daughter, and any other that I can help along the way.

I choose to always make sure I have an extra spoon for my daughter – or a friend in need.

I choose to laugh – at myself as needed!

I choose to pray.

I choose to be a friend.

Because to live deliberately doesn’t mean life will be easy.  It doesn’t mean life will go well, or the way we want it to.  It means making a choice to find what you can, dig deeply for the beauty that is abundant in the joys, but also hiding in the sorrows.

To live deliberately doesn’t mean I won’t be sad, or mad.  It means I will have ALL the feelings – on purpose.  Because to truly appreciate life I must experience all things.

happiness is a butterfly

 

I choose to do one thing I enjoy every single day.

And today I choose to take a walk.

How will you live deliberately today?

 

Dead Poets Society

The church bulletin this morning had these words from Henry David Thoreau

thoreau 1Poignant.  Especially as I sat, in my “new” church, watching my daughter participate actively in a “Family Friendly” service.  They do those about every 6 weeks, in cycles, and I really enjoy them.  This one, this week, focused on growing up.

So, as Meghan stood singing, in a small, multi age group, I thought about the backdrop behind her.   Initially it still felt “wrong” to me.  I somehow expected her to be in front of the church I grew up in; with the same smile, and the same voice.  I imagined the picture behind the altar that became ingrained in my subconscious as a youth, and the striking stained glass windows.  I was looking for the familiarity of my childhood, even as I myself, and with my family, am still, at almost 40, “growing up.”

Things did not work out.  After 38 years that was initially so hard to swallow.  I was angry.  I was sad.  I was generally heartbroken.  But maybe it was time.  Time for me to “grow.”

For years I prayed for a place where my family could worship together.  We have spent 6 months now, almost every week, as a family of three in the pew.  The motto of the Moravian Church, “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things love,” speaks to my soul.

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I looked at the cross, and the Moravian Star, and I smiled.  The backdrop has changed, but not the meaning.  “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”  She was standing in a different place, but there was the same love, and acceptance I have come to equate with my faith.

When I got home I couldn’t shake the images from “Dead Poets Society.”  Quotes from my all-time favorite movie from 1989, with my all time favorite actor, Robin Williams flooded my head.

Thoreau, along with other famous poets wisdom peppered this movie with all the perspective I needed as I high school student.  And, now as I “grow up,” decades later, the meaning of the words changes a bit, but the movie “grows up” with me.

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And the reality that…

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The scene that spoke to the teacher and human in me, as Robin Williams hopped onto the desk…

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The reminders that we are to always look at things from a different perspective.

These are the words that shaped my youth.  These are the words that give me strength – decades later.  I love words, especially straightforward ones that speak to my soul.

In 1989 I thought life was complicated.  I had no idea that just shy of 25 years later I would be facing a rare genetic disease like Cowden’s Syndrome, with all its risks, and perils.  I could not imagine in my worst nightmares that my beautiful girl would be facing it too. And yet, these words, that became part of me – help give me the strength to endure.

My faith is strong.  My understanding of others, and the need to always look at things from a different perspective is a large part of how I define myself.

Growing up.  Changing.  Doesn’t mean ending, but rather new beginnings.

It may be a while before Meghan is old enough – or even interested in my favorite movie, but I will teach her – one step at a time.

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Every day – we work in this house on new beginnings.  We work on finding our voice, and moving forward.

We try to live a little, learn a little, and to keep God involved in it all.

We make a few denim ribbons, we raise awareness, and we keep the reality that we are fortunate.

All this from a “Family Friendly” Church service centered on ‘growing up.’

I consider myself successful as a Mother, if my girl grows up – Cowden’s or not – with these ideas helping shape who she becomes.

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