We are heading into our last true week of summer here in the Schrader household. Aaron heads back to work next week, and we have the football scrimmage that will kick off the season at the end of this week. The summer was fast, not long enough, and incredibly busy. We spent loads of time with people that we love. We took advantage of the fact that life is short and sometimes you just have to spend that extra bit of money, take an extra day off even when it hurts, stay up a little bit later even when you’ll feel it in the morning, or let things be undone in an attempt to really experience and enjoy life.
My summer has seen days of joy, and some moments of overcoming grief. Where I’ve landed through all of it is that being angry is such a time waster. And while knowing this should have changed my perspective on life’s circumstances, it didn’t. Four months ago if I would have looked ahead to where my life would be in August 2011, this would not be it. And at the very core of that statement is sadness and heartache and anger. When I truly think about all of the implications of this, I am so thankful for a God that is merciful, full of grace, overwhelmingly loving, and incredibly patient with someone as stubborn and unchanging as me.
This past year I stumbled upon Shauna Niequist, a writer that has captured my heart with her honesty, transparency, and love for life amidst the pain. I recently finished one of her books, “Cold Tangerines,” and have found that it has challenged me to find the extraordinary in everyday life.
I believe in a life of celebration. I believe that the world we wake up to every day is filled to the brim with deep, aching love, and also with hatred and sadness. And I know which of those I want to win in the end. I want to celebrate in the face of despair, dance when all we see on the horizon is doom. I know that Death knocks at our doors and comes far too early for far too many of us, but when he comes for me, I want to be full-tilt, wide-open, caught in the very act of life. I think that’s what we’re here for, not for a passive, peaceful life, but to stand up in the face of all that lacks peace and demand more.
Some days I’m complacent, resistant, and heavyhearted.
Some days I demand more, I’m forward looking, I see glimpses of hope, and celebration wins. Those are the days I am most thankful. Thankful for hot days with iced coffee, finding a good book and not wanting to put it down, sleeping with the windows open, a Kenny Chesney song that never gets old, an M&M milkshake, a sun-kissed glow from spending the entire day at a car wash, dinner on a restaurant patio, and for friends that allow me to be painfully, brutally, ugly honest on the days that hurt.
Since being angry wastes my time, my heart is aching to celebrate any little thing I can find, even on the hard days. And on the days where celebration is hard to come by, I’ll lean on grace. This past weekend I joined with many others to celebrate our good friend, Pat Gonsoulin for his 65th birthday! In his honor I baked his favorite cake! Yellow cake with chocolate orange buttercream frosting. This frosting was reason enough to celebrate to our hearts content! It looked a little something like this…