When I started this blog a little over a year ago, I wanted it to be a place of truth, thoughtfulness, and challenges. I wanted Deep Words of Life to be…well, just that…deep, life-giving words. I used to write about funny things, happy things, smart things. But as I changed, I believe my writing changed too. Hear me out. I’m not apologizing for being different, especially because I believe I’m still in a transition phase of sorts. I might turn out ok after all of this is said and done. 😉 But I am apologizing for failing to make this blog a place that encourages, strengthens, and motivates other people. I’m sorry for failing to write about joyful things. I’m sorry for making this about me when I’ve always wanted this to be so much more than that.
So, to make good my apology, I want to write about happy things today. I want to make people smile and remember that life, though difficult, is a beautiful gift. We’ll keep this simple.
1) Gerbils. I lost one of them recently, but sunflower-loving Ezekiel has a sweet little grave that my brother made him beneath the shade of a pine tree I used to play under as a little girl. And Peter is snuggled in his solitary nest as I write this. He misses his buddy, but I think having the sunflower seeds all to himself has made the transition much easier. So when things in my life get difficult, I always think of my gerbils and our ridiculous adventures through the last few years. Animals are loyal without realizing it, and they’re also really good teachers. Let’s just say I’ve learned a lot. And let’s just say you should adopt a few gerbils for good company.
2) Time. I’ve got a ton of it. So much that I don’t even feel guilty about wasting some of it on YouTube or Facebook. Because when I get that stuff out of the way, there’s still time for the dishes or reading or _______. And, then after that, there’s more time to do nothing again. And then it’s bedtime, which could either be really early or really late. Two semesters of college taught me to cherish free time nearly as much as I cherish peanut butter and squirrels. When I use my time to complain about my life, I’m overlooking a huge blessing…time itself.
3) Porch Swings. I. Love. Porch. Swings. Granted, it’s more than a little bittersweet because it was supposed to be a place for my parents to sit and talk. So maybe I sit there because I can think of that. But mostly, I sit there because it’s sunny and breezy and perfect for reading fiction and sipping coffee. The introvert in me loves the porch swing because I can sit there and feel like a part of the world without having to be around people. So. Nice.
4) Buick. I love getting to cruise around in my old lady car. I know that sounds like sarcasm, but it’s not! The seats are comfy, the radio gets as loud as I’d like it to be, and now all the windows roll down so I can blast Adele out into Greentown when I drive up to get me a cold pop (as Sweet Brown would say so enthusiastically).
5) This. I really like this, what I’m doing right now. Sharing my thoughts with the little world at my fingertips. Sometimes I like to imagine that really smart people read this. I like to think this could someday matter in a big way, but then I remember that’s not really what I want. If I’m being honest, I’ll tell you that I really just like being real with people. I want to share my story in the hope that you’ll share yours, too. I like the idea that the person I’m becoming can encourage the person someone else is becoming. The reader/writer relationship is mysterious and unique. Cool stuff, for sure.
I was talking to my mom on the phone recently and she was trying to help me think clearly again after a really bad experience at home. And I remember her telling me, “This is not your life, Jessica. Things won’t always be this way.” At first I thought she was talking about my future and how everything would be so different someday down the road. But I think she might also have been talking about today. The bad things that have happened recently aren’t my life. They happened, they’re still happening, they will probably happen again tomorrow. But I’ll still have a gerbil tomorrow. I’ll still sit on the porch swing and feed sunflower seeds to Peter. I might curl up with a good library book or watch some goofy YouTube videos. And those will be good things. Those things I can call “my life” just as much as any of the real crappy things. So I’m sorry, to all of you who read this, for my mistaking bad circumstances as a bad life. Because my mom was right. That stuff isn’t my life. My life was never supposed to be about how many negative things I can discover. And that’s not what I want this blog to be about either. So I’ll start with the simple moments that make up my days, name them one by one, and think how crazy lucky I am to be alive.