Monday, April 11, 2011

How You Live

Sometimes I read back through my journal and find some nugget of wisdom that will encourage me where I'm walking today. This morning I found myself reading an entry from May 2009. It was the day of my granddaughter's preschool graduation. Only two days ago, I watched as she climbed the hill at the ball field and noticed how long her legs and how independent she is becoming. We have to be thankful for the gradual process and the graciousness of God in letting go of our little ones. In this same way, He is gracious in teaching us to let go of that which would delay our growth and trust in Him.

As I drove to the church, camera ready, to record this special event, I had no idea that God had a rich lesson in store for me. I was listening to the radio when an unfamiliar song caught my attention. How You Live, by Point of Grace would soon set the tone for my day.


(Turn up the Music)

Wake up to the sunlight

With your windows open

Don't hold in your anger or leave things unspoken

Wear your red dress

Use your good dishes

Make a big mess and make lots of wishes

Have what you want

But want what you have

And don't spend your life looking back


Turn up the music

Turn it up loud

Take a few chances

Let it all out

You won't regret it

Looking back from where you have been

Cause it's not who you know

And it's not what you did

It's how you live

So go to the ballgames

And go to the ballet

And go see your folks more than just on the holidays

Kiss all your children

Dance with your wife

Tell your husband you love him every night

Don't run from the truth

Cause you can't get away

Just face it and you'll be okay


Turn up the music

Turn it up loud

Take a few chances

Let it all out

You won't regret it

Looking back from where you have been

Cause it's not who you know

And it's not what you did

It's how you live

Oh, wherever you are and wherever you've been

Now is the time to begin.

So give to the needy

And pray for the grieving

Even when you don't think that you can

Cause all that you do is bound to come back to you

So think of your fellow man

Make peace with God and make peace with yourself

Cause in the end, there's nobody else

When I first recorded my thoughts from this day in my journal, I realized I'd accidentally ripped the page right before which left it hanging loose and creating a distraction for me. Should I just rip the page out or leave it hanging there to get frayed and eventually fall out on its own? I chose to ignore it and begin writing about my experiences upon entering the graduation ceremony. Later I found this loose and distracting page a perfect picture of how my thoughts can be so tied up in the last page or chapter of my life that I am unable to really live in the moment.

These are the words I have recorded in my journal. “So after hearing this song on the radio, I decided to relish each and every moment of this preschool graduation. I wanted to capture every single expression of my precious grandgirl. I was moved by her captivating smile and the way all these tiny boys and girls were swaying to the music. There is absolutely nothing that compares to hearing little children sing about Jesus. I looked over to see the tears streaming down my daughter's face. How quickly the moments slip by! I understood the joy mixed with the pain of realizing her little one has reached another milestone... ever growing....changing... I heard Point of Grace again in my head and the words ”Let it all out!” Let your heart feel the emotion. The tears are real, a manifestation of what your heart is feeling. Don't stifle...don't run from the truth. Don't pretend it doesn't hurt. Really live in this moment! I let my tears flow....

My eyes fell on the small feet of these five year old children, showing under tiny graduation gowns... flip-flopped, sandaled and sneakered. Ellis' hat kept tipping to the back of her head—almost falling off...somehow like the ripped page in my journal. It hung precariously at times. She didn't give it a thought as she sang exuberantly to the music. She couldn't resist the urge to move her feet. What sparkle, what joy... real life. It was contagious.

As the program came to an end, my eyes fell on a picture of Jesus and the children at the back of the room. I remembered a favorite scene from the Easter drama at our church years ago. Jesus was seated on the ground chatting with a group of children. I can't remember the music that was playing,only the face of Jesus as the spotlight dimmed at the close of this scene. Jesus, head reared back, appeared to be enjoying a belly laugh with all the children as they all pressed in really close and joined him in a joyful moment.

When I think of Jesus most poignant moments, I see Him fully alive and engaged with those around him. He went to the wedding, had breakfast on the beach with friends, allowed the woman to wash his feet with her very real tears and dry them with her hair. Perhaps like us, the people he came to know, were prone to live in the torn, ripped pages of the story of their past or in the anxiety of the future. Could it be that was why he spoke to Martha about her busyness in making preparations while Mary had found a place to enjoy His presence and the others around her?

Life is but a series of moments..... like a vapor. When will it be time to start the business of real living? That day in May, I made a decision to live in the moment and see, hear and feel everything happening in the room. I'd like to say I live every day in this way. Unfortunately, I am in that gradual process of growth spoken of earlier. Some days I find myself still focusing on the torn and uneven page of my journal or the painful words of past failure written inside. We all have to make a choice to turn up the music, take a few chances with relationships, express the emotion we feel for others and be content with what we have.

A week ago, my grandson decided to crank up the radio with the remote while his sister and I were in the other room. I came into the room to see him moving to the music having an obvious pleasure filled moment. I remember throwing back my head in laughter, as I witnessed his joy. Surely, there is something of childlike faith in our living in the present moment and enjoying life here on earth.

And Jesus set a child in the midst of them.


Take a ride on a spring night and watch the sun setting. Grab the hand of the one you love while you share milk and cookies. Blow bubbles with your grandchildren and cry with your neighbor. Turn off the TV, take a walk in the rain.... Don't miss the moment because of “if only s” or “I can't s.” Don't allow fear to cheat you out of real life or regrets numb your God given five senses. See, hear, smell, taste and feel life again.

He said He came to give us life and that life would be abundant. A life lived out loud.. tuned in, turned up and without regrets. Now is the time to begin.

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