with one eye on the clock...

by Ellen

Sorry, I had to. Today is 5/19. And I can't help it, I love Matt Wertz. It reminds me of this day last year, when Nathan was playing with Wertz, and this one guy kept shouting above all the rest, "Happy 5-19 day!!!!!" in a crazy voice. Silly.

I'm sorry all of these are so close together, but I've been having lots of weird dreams lately. I love it when that happens.

Last night, I dreamed I was on the beach, but I was a lifeguard or something, and there sand castles everywhere. I would only sit parallel to the water, so it's not like I was watching intently for drowning victims or anything. When it was time for all of us to change shifts, I had to climb up this mountain of sand that someone had built and stuck an umbrella in. I couldn't climb up it, but someone gave me a boost, and then I got stuck in the middle of it. After all of that, I was supposed to go to prom. I was upset because my dress was really ugly, and prom was in this shady place that ended up being closed by the time we all got there.

And today...has been a really strange day. We are introducing elephants, and it is necessary, but not too fun. I was also told that since I am an Aquarius, I'll probably never be good for marriage because like water, I like to flow and make friends with everybody. Apparently we Aquariuses (Aquarii?) are bad at having one stable partner because we always want to visit with everyone else. Ugh. I'm so like that. I really don't believe in all of that stuff, but I work with someone who is, and she had me pegged.

On that note, I'm not married. I don't have any desire to be married, nor am I looking for it. It is missing in my life, but I'm not actively missing it. And marriage is just one example. I'm also missing incredible artistic talent, a hamster (or any other variety of furry rodents), and a number of other things. But these are the things I don't have.

I have noticed lately that we all focus on the things that are missing from our lives, instead of focusing on the things we do have. I know that I am SO guilty of falling into this trap, and it's hard to find your way out. You say to yourself, "If I only had this, I'd be so much happier. I really want to get married, so I'm going to go looking for that, now. I really think that hamster would entertain me, so I'm going to get one; we can be friends." I do it ALL the time with clothes, guys, food, and so much more. I say, "mmm... that shirt would make me look skinny. I think that boy is cute, funny, smart, and would let me snuggle next to him on the couch; I'ma make that happen. Oooo...those fried pickles sure look good; this has been a hard day, I'll work it off tomorrow." In the long run, none of it matters.

It's like the story about this guy named Jacob. Jacob wanted so badly to have all the things he was missing in his life. He wanted his monies, and so he pretended to be someone he wasn't in order to get his monies. He went on pretending like this for a REALLY long time, until one day, he physically wrestled with God, who gave him a swift kick in the pants. God was so bummed that Jacob was focusing on what he was missing, that he even changed his name to give him a new start. And now he's a character on LOST. It's amazing where faith can take us.

I've been thinking about this a lot, and I think that trying to focus on what we've been given is a WAY better way to live our lives. If I stop and think about what I do have, it gets me everywhere instead of nowhere. I have been blessed with a crazy, wonderful, supportive family. I have beautiful friends, I get to live migraine-free with a beautiful puppy, I have a strong spiritual community that exists in all forms, and I have a Creator that has marvelously made me. There is nothing else I could ask for, except to be able to recognize within myself what can make me a better servant.

If only it were that easy. It's hard for me to remember all of that all the time (except when I look at Luna because she's thebomb.com), and especially when I feel like I might die if I don't have that super cute pair of pants or someone who wants to hold my hand all the time. It's hard for me to remember all of it when I feel like I've settled, and I'm going places and doing things to cover that up. And it's hard for me to remember when I feel like I'm not good enough because where I haven't been makes me feel inadequate when I think of where everyone else has been. It's hard for me to remember when I'm thinking about how good and comfortable that old love was, and how I think I'll never find anything like that again. It's hard for me to remember when I want to be as extraordinary as possible, when I only need to know that I'm God's beloved. And so are you.

I love this life, not because I'm constantly working towards some far away kingdom, but because the kingdom is here already. I don't want to spend my life searching for the things that might make me "happy" or feel better about myself. If I ever become like Jacob, I really hope that God will give me a swift kick in the pants and open my eyes to what is right in front me, which is all the love, hope, and grace one could ask for.

Thanks for that, Jesus. Woo woo!