Christmas break is officially over and it’s life as usual. Or is it?
We had a happy holiday. Family. Food. A trip away. No set schedule.
All is mostly well. Except that… I didn’t know how much I was dreading “life as usual” until last night.
I woke up to a wet kiss on the cheek at 12:30 a.m. My son stood over and startled me, mumbling something about a bad dream and it being too dark. Our room was terribly cold, so he started to crawl under the covers beside me.
He’s only eleven but we’re almost the same size. While the thought of a good cuddle was tempting, I knew we both needed sound sleep to function well at work and school.
I got out of the bed; he got in. I spent the next hour trying to go fall back asleep in his twin size bed.
When sleep escapes me, I breathe and pray.
I had lots to pray about.
My uncle is working to recover his speech after a stroke. Another aunt just came through back surgery a few hours earlier. Some of my friends are struggling. I’d received several texts from folks for whom 2017 isn’t going so well. There are decisions and bills on the horizon. I have lots of things to figure out.
It was all super unsettling, but I finally slipped into sleep for a couple hours. Then worry woke me up at 2:00 a.m.,
Hey! You can’t over sleep! You need to be in the shower by 5:00 so everyone has hot water.
Oh, and by the way…
Don’t forget “A.”
You didn’t do “B.”
What about “C?”
There’s no time for “D.”
“E” needs to be done before you leave.
You have “F” today.
“G” and “H,” too.
Call “J” back.
You forgot to email “K.”
Answer that text about “L.”
I’m not sure how, but I fell back asleep. I was up again at 3:57 a.m. The mania kicked in for a minute, but something in me fought back,
“No! I don’t want to get up and deal with all this crap. And you can’t make me!”
My response surprised me. “What am I, two?” I reprimanded myself.
It felt familiar though, because this list is “life as usual.”
I paused to pray, “Please help me find another way.” Thankfully, sleep quickly came back and stayed until my alarm went off.
I pushed snooze and lay there listening- to the box fan in the hallway, to my cat gently purring atop the covers, to my own breath.
A new thought rose up from within,
“It’s all gift… IF… I choose to see it that way.”
I ran items A-L through that filter, plus the prayers. Not in a resigned way like, “Yes. I know. I have so much to be grateful for- yada, yada, yada.”
But more inquisitive, like, “Wow. I hadn’t seen it that way.”
Hope flooded my limbs and not the kind I had to talk myself into having.
I often see many of my comings and goings- my life– like an open and shut case.
Going through the motions.
Tedious at times.
Maybe even a little too predictable (read: boring) if I’m honest.
But a wave of wonder came over me this morning, and I suddenly saw…
Life as improv.
The gift of the scene and my chance to do something compelling with it. Surprising, shocking maybe.
The plot is not permanent.
Rather Jesus hands me the story in raw form and says, “Write it like you, live it for me.”
I put my feet on the floor at 5:08 a.m. differently. Instead of trying to figure out how to get through the dreaded details, I decided to see each one as an opportunity to be curious. To ask questions. To see where the day takes me.
When handed a scene, I’m choosing to see it as a chance to create something new.
I’m not normally big on New Year’s Resolutions. But I’m making this one mine-
See everything as “gift” and go with it.
With curiosity, I’ll say “yes” to the scene and see where it leads me. One scene to the next. And so on. And so forth.
Since I’m not expecting to know where the scene will go, I can detach from the outcome. I can shrug my shoulders, and say, “Hum,” then in a tone that rises and falls, “Okay.” And stay… in the mystery of it all.
This is not “life as usual,” rather it’s life as unusual.
Unusual intrigues us, draws us into the moments. Unusual takes us places we didn’t know we would or could go before.
That’s how I want to walk out life in 2017, scene by scene, into the story Jesus co-directs with me.
How about you?
Leave a comment below, email me, or come over to Facebook and say, “Me too” if you’re in.
Here’s to life as unusual this year. I look forward to living it with you.