Faith, life, Parenting, Spiritual Encouragement, Uncategorized, Writing
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More Life

photo-12

The frost lays thickly on branch and windowpane where the sun’s rays cannot reach.

It is winter but the days are lengthening by a minute with each rotation of the earth. New Year’s Day may land on January 1st, when we collectively turn the fresh pages of our recently shrink-wrapped calendars, but the new season began its slow unfolding on December 22nd after winter solstice. It went by largely unnoticed, as most of us were in a flurry of holiday preparations, but the earth had already begun it’s slow change without aplomb. Things remained mostly the same: it was still December, still winter, still dark before dinner preparations began.

This morning, familiar clatter interrupted my dreams. Back to school, back to work. I pulled my arm, tingling still with sleep, and tossed it over the side of the bed, hoping to aid circulation and drifted back to sleep. As always, my corgi’s wet nose nudged my hand and pulled me to wakefulness. Familiar hunger gnawed and hollowed my insides, and I thought of the eggs in the fridge and the homework pinned to the front door and the long to-do list I’d made. I recoiled at emerging from the soft, thick covers. I know myself and I always choose comfort over slapping in sneakers on the cold-hard pavement; I always choose a cup of coffee, sipped slowly with a stream of cream, and a gradual coming into life. I prefer this cup in the summer, under a canopy of sunshine and birdsong, but in the winter, I like a thick, plush blanket and slippers. I am a creature attuned to comfort.

The eggs slide into the bowl, clear and glistening: one, two, three. Two boys will eat with me today, glad I got up to make them something hot for breakfast. I hit the yolks with the tines of the fork and splash the milk, pour the golden mixture into the pan. The heat changes everything. Once the eggs are done, the pan emptied, I toss in tomatoes to sear and blister the skin. They burst under the pressure and leak and sweeten, ready to be smashed like jam onto my toast. Only an old person wants to eat tomato jam for breakfast.

The morning air is stinging cold, but the sun shines and invites me to find the spots that are slick and shiny and sun-flooded, to move from monochrome icy shade into pools of light: to remember this day has one-minute more sunlight than yesterday: to take a minute and live in the the sunshine of it.

And this is the simple gift of nearly dying: life and more life.

The life I have was given to me twice by God, once with the skilled aid of surgeons. And this life I take each day as I climb out of bed is more life. More life is what I do with the breath I have: how I work, what I love and hate and eat and think. More life, I’ve found, has made me strangely content, and I say strangely because contentment is not my modus operandi. This isn’t a resignation, a comfort-coma of laziness, but an acceptance that whatever is before me happens to be the thing I have to pay attention to whether it be the food that needs to become dinner, the faces of my children, the stack of books to read, work to be accomplished, the pool of sunshine beyond the frosted shade.

I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to the fact that I slipped naked and dependent into unconsciousness in a helicopter, having given every last thought of this world back to my Creator, the final words I coherently remember being spoken “we don’t know why you can’t breathe, but we’re going to do the breathing for you,” hovering over my face and my undoubtedly wild, wide-eyes.

I would die. Or I would not.

And we say that life is short. We say we should pursue our dreams, change the world, make a difference. We say. We do. We set goals and follow after dreams, we make sacrifices and make plans. We put very little stock in being. Being here. Being right here.

But I am changed, although so much the same. My day-to-day life has resumed the normalcy, the busyness, the mundane even, as before. I clean out the fridge and toss moldy food into the garbage, I read books, I pray, I laugh at the dinner table and text friends, I miss my mom, I pump gas into my car. Over and over again, my life is surreally normal, average. But I am perpetually piqued by more life. Absorbing the moment and not planning ahead. I am different and I need time to process this change.

No one but the nearly dead, the one-breath-away-from-never-breathing-again might understand me. I can’t explain it except by saying that my feet aren’t wholly on this ground anymore. I am lilted a bit by the reality of my mortality. What matters and what matters not I see in different shades than before, but the fine focus is still wanting.

So I tie on sneakers and leash the dogs and find the pavement, not because of a resolution I’ve made to be fit, but because of that pool of sunlight down the street that calls my soul. I construct sentences and stories not to change the world, but to find the meaning of it. I am a slow learner, a slow-it-down and see-er, now. I don’t want to be a quick study; I don’t want to market my work anymore, but instead, mine it. I want to dig deep for more life in the minutes of sunlight, not because I’ve made it a goal, but because I’ve realized the wealth of purpose in being. This was the gift of nearly dying: more life.

” The thief’s purpose is to steal, kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.” {John 10:10}

blessed to be linking with women to women ministries and coffee for your heart with holly gerth

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