Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Brake for Beauty

What crosses your mind when your eyes first behold the morning? 
For me, it’s my to-do list.  Don’t want to admit that. 
Before I’m steady on my feet--with brush in hand, fixing hair for my girls--I’m already thinking of what’s on my plate for the day.  Prepare breakfast.  Check.  Pack snacks and fill water bottles.  Check.
And, as I go about my business (or “busy”ness…), I am always thinking.
Gym?  Check.  Dishes?  Check.  Fold laundry?  Check.  Pick up bananas for Bible study?  Check.  Email baby shower hostesses?  Check.  Organize PTA volunteers for the school carnival?  Check.
Maybe I do this because I am afraid I’m going to forget something.  Doesn’t really work, though.  I forget things all the time.  There’s a lot to remember.  I can’t keep it all straight.
Today I went to the bank to get dimes for an Easter craft project for my Tween Time Bible study.  The teller and I both had trouble multiplying.  Dimes.  In denominations of 10. 
“I need 120 dimes.  How many are in a roll?”
“$5 worth,” she replied.
“Ok.  How many dimes is that?  If it is 5 dimes per dollar, that’s how many per roll?” I stammered, trying to calculate. (5 dimes per dollar?  What?!)
“I don’t know,” was her reply.
“Um, well, no, that’s 10 dimes per dollar, so that’s 50 dimes per roll.  So, I will need, well, 3 rolls.  Yeah, 150 dimes.” 
“So, you want $150 worth of dimes?” the teller asked.
“No…I need 120 dimes.  $12 worth of dimes.  2 rolls and $2 more…” 
You only wish it ended there.  It went on.  I hope no one waiting behind me in line knew me.  Or could hear.  It was that bad.  How embarrassing.  How hard is it to get 120 dimes at the bank?  Apparently, you and the teller need to be rocket scientists.
When you can’t multiply and divide by 10, you should probably sit down and have a snack or something.  Too little energy to the brain!  It was comical, really.  I had so much on my mind that I couldn’t function.
Definition of insanity: doing the same thing and expecting different results.  The bank debacle proved it.  List-rehearsing just makes me crazy, not more efficient.
No matter how hard I try, I never get to the bottom of the list.  An ambitious person (call it optimistic, if you will), I plan more for myself than I can actually accomplish in a day.  
What a way to feel defeated!  This is no way to live. 
This week, in my comings and goings, I passed a vast field of wildflowers near my home a million times.  I craned my neck on more than one occasion, taking a brief pause from my mental list-making and list-checking.  I wondered wistfully why I didn’t just STOP and breathe it all in. 
Today, there was more to do than I could finish by bedtime.  Mr. List was driving me.  But, he wasn’t a gentlemanly chauffer.  He was a mean city bus driver, unhappy about his route, his life.  He let me on the bus, but he wasn’t in the mood to make any stops.
Today I refused to be hijacked.  On my drive home from errand running, the Holy Spirit whispered: Something’s gotta give, Sarah.
It occurred to me: The focus has been my list.  The focus must be YOU, Lord.
As I approached that familiar scenery, something inside of me shouted to that mean bus driver, Mr. List.  “I want OUT!  I want OFF!” 
I almost crashed my minivan into a curb lined with red poppies and bluebonnets.  I braked like a mad woman, almost missing the gravel driveway that provided the only reprieve from the busy street.
Unsure of why or even how I stopped, I exited my door in a cloud of dust I stirred up with my car.  Taking hesitant steps, I emerged into the daylight, fished my iPhone out of my purse, and began furiously taking snapshots.  I couldn’t even see my screen for the bright rays of the sun.  I had no idea how these pictures were turning out.  But, I couldn’t help myself.  I took them in more rapid succession, wanting to capture it all.

I stood there for a moment absorbing the view.  What lovely serendipity.  In all my passing by, I did not notice the way the barbed wire fence framed the flowers and the field with tiny metal crosses.  I did not see the old mailbox, the gnarly, sprawling oak tree, or the rickety gate…much less the family ranch sign or the glory of an individual bloom. 
When I was looking at my list, I had missed so much beauty.
What have you missed today?  Will you join me and brake for beauty? 
Will you linger in the car until that worship song you love is finished?   Sing at the top of your lungs, letting the lyrics sink way down deep into your toes?  Who cares if you go into the grocery store 30 seconds later than you planned?  Who cares if a stranger sees you rocking out in your van?
Will you look long at that pile of laundry on your couch, the crumbs on your counter, the fingerprints on your windows, and buck the knee-jerk reaction that tells you there is more work to be done?  Instead, will you rejoice that children (albeit messy ones!) live at your house?
Strewn pieces of projects, stray socks, and half-eaten Goldfish are evidence—of life.
Will you brake? 

Will you drink in the beauty? 
In the big and little things, in the neat and messy things, in the finished and unfinished things, God is all around us.
“…I challenge you to relinquish the fantasy of an uncluttered world.  Accept each day just as it comes, and find Me in the midst of it all…Remember that your ultimate goal is not to control or fix everything around you; it is to keep communing with Me…Do not let your to-do list (written or mental) become an idol directing your life.”  --Sarah Young, Jesus Calling
Be on the lookout for my next blog post.  You won’t want to miss it!

Get ready to take the Confident Hope Easter Challenge

1 comment:

Annette said...

Love this! I know how you feel!!