Picture Perfect

Since I have finally got an aide I trust I can get out a little more when she is here. Often I run errands which go a lot faster than when I get to take Chris along with me. Last week I got to stop by a little trail and grab a quick run. As I neared the back of the loop, the path was lined on both sides with beautiful flowers. They were draping everywhere and caused me to stop and enjoy the beauty for a moment. Nature's just cool like that!

As I stood there I noticed that some of the flowers had stickery edges on the leaves and on closer observation some of the plants were nearly dangerous for my bare legs. I started thinking about how things are not always as they appear and they are not always as lovely as it seems on the surface.

Even though I was enjoying the beauty of the flowers there were stickers, thorns, briers and probably even snakes lurking nearby. Sometimes as a caregiver I can look around at other people's lives and think about how easy they have it or how beautiful and nice their lives seem to be. But even though it can look gorgeous to an outsider, there's always something lurking in the background that perhaps we just don't know about.

I stopped to pause and think about my favorite Bible stories. We like them because things usually turned out okay in the end. But if we stop and think not one of our Bible heroes had an easy life. We can read the story in a matter of a few minutes without realizing the impact of time. A chapter takes a few seconds to read but the individual lived years in turmoil.

Our Bible heroes were not perfect, but they didn't have wonderful lives either. Actually, not one of them had a perfect life. But they have our admiration because they endured struggles, fights and difficulties. We love reading their stories:

because they endured
because they held to their faith
because they made it through the battle or died trying

Life is never all good. But it's not ever all bad either. It's made up of a little bit of both. Early on in my caregiving journey I had great difficulty enjoying the good parts of life. My daughter became pregnant with my first grandchild just a few months after my son's wreck. I was literally living in the nursing home with him. Life was not  good. I had to learn how to embrace the joys even though in deep, grieving pain. Over time, I've gotten better at it! Now I tend to embrace those beautiful moments. I have to let  myself enjoy my grandchildren, enjoy trips with my daughter, enjoy coffee with a friend. 

Even though life didn't turn out picture perfect, there is still lots of good around. I'm learning to enjoy the flowers without letting the thorns disturb me. I didn't look away from the flowers on the trail the other day because of thorns or stickers; I enjoyed the beauty they provided. We can look at our Bible heroes and see there was good and bad, but the bad is only the focus as we celebrate what they've overcome. As believers, our stories have happy endings too, even if it doesn't look like it from here. 

Today I am going to purposefully look for spots of joy. And then I'm going to embrace them! I will meditate on Romans 8:28 that tells me that He can turn everything into good. Even though I can't see it or feel it - I know the ending He writes will be good. My meditation and thoughts will be on finding the good in life today because it's there. And when I spot it - I will offer a prayer of thanksgiving. Will you join me?

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