Sometimes I get stuck. I sit in my house, with my kids swirling around me. I see the dirty dishes but don’t feel like washing them. The pile of pajamas in the living room seems to be growing as I sit. Sticky finger prints from breakfast overtake the glass table top. Papers from my school kids clutter the counter tops. And I sit. I scroll. I read headlines. I try to busy the kids enough to keep them out of my hair. Days like this I see the sunshine outside but getting the kids ready and dragging myself out there feels like it takes supernatural strength. After all, we’re still in our jammies and it’s lunch time!
One fall day, I overcame the 1000 lb. weight keeping me stuck in my chair with my laptop! My littles and I were going for a walk and I didn’t know it, but God had a big lesson for me!
The moment I breathed in the fresh air, I knew it was the right decision. It was a beautiful Fall day in Nebraska. Sixty-eight degrees, cool breeze, leaves crunching under foot. I turned on a little Matt Maher on Pandora and the world was well (and All the People said Amen)!
We strolled and we strolled, checking out all of God’s goodness along the way. The colorful leaves, the leftover Halloween pumpkins and spider webs, and a random squirrel scurrying around.
Then I saw something in the distance. As we got closer, I realized it was a walker sitting in the street by the curb. Then a man comes into view, sitting on the side of the curb at the bottom of the small hill between the sidewalk and street.
My mind raced – is he ok? Does he need help? Will I be able to help him with my two boys? Will I have to call EMTs? He was quiet but seemed to be reaching for something. He had an old basket from the post office and was trying to reach something.
As I got closer I pushed the stroller down to the street, nervous about what kind of problem the man may be having and how I may be needed to help.
It was then that it all became clear to me. He greeted us with a smile the size of Texas. He didn’t need help at all. This man who appeared to be in his mid 80’s was sitting on the curb, using the basket to scoop up the dried leaves from the side of the street. He looked up and said “it’s a beautiful day!”
At once I had a renewed perspective! This man who needed a walker just to get around, could enjoy the simple pleasure of cleaning up the leaves!
I asked if he needed a hand and he replied, again with a smile “No thanks!” He was right where he wanted to be, finding joy in the work before him – no matter how difficult it was or how long it would take him to scoot his way along the curb with his basket tidying up the street.
Minutes earlier, I sat – able-bodied – in my kitchen dazed, lost in the inter webs, shooing away my kids so I could have some peace and quiet. How much I take for granted! So many things I forget to be grateful for! That night, I was grateful for that man that God put in my path – his spirit, his life, his joy! May I always embody those same traits and encourage others to do the same!
Look around today. What is it that you may need to embrace more fully? What thoughts do you need to set aside to be free to experience joy in your daily life? What is that 1000lb weight in your daily grind keeping you from today? Let’s all work to be that light for others today, to inspire with the gratitude and joy in our hearts – even as we go about our mundane tasks. For the Lord rejoices in those who serve joyfully!