No Man is an Island

There really is truth to the saying that no man is an island.

Our actions (and inactions) both directly and indirectly impact those around us.

You may think that what you’re doing affects no one, but it isn’t true. This goes for positive as well as negative consequences.

A simple smile at a stranger could start off a chain of events that makes the world just a little brighter.

Or the death of someone who thought no one would notice or care could set off consequences that affect several generations to come.

I’ve seen both happen. Our communities are filled with people who affect our lives.

I LOVE being part of a community as much as I love being part of a big, crazy family.

I think I might have instilled that in my youngest daughter as well.

Kaden called last week. After two summers backpacking through Europe, she’s settled in Louisiana and has started a professional career in law.

She wanted to let me know she’d signed up to audition for local theatre productions. I was so happy. Not because she was following my footsteps onto the stage, but because she was putting down roots.

By searching for activities outside of work and home, she’s not only investing in her community but also forging her identity as an adult. (It’s exciting to watch your kids grow into beautiful adults but a little bittersweet when it’s your baby.)

Nevertheless, I’m happy for her.

Unlike my husband who was a military brat, I spent my first three decades in my hometown. Moving was never easy for me and we did it three times. It was absolutely vital for me to establish an identity in my new communities.

That usually involved finding a publication to write for, a place to work, a place to worship, a stage to perform on, a place to grocery shop, a place to do my nails, and a library!

These were MY places and they became my ties to the community.

Seeing my daughter search for those same ties fills me with joy.

Because we are all part of a bigger  picture, all woven into the same tapestry with our own unique design. None of us is an island!

 

It’s a Balance

Like most things in life, a balance is necessary. Work vs. home life. Kid 1 vs. Kid 2. Time for yourself vs. time for others. We are constantly teetering on that beam, showing balance skills they’d only dream of perfecting at the Olympics.

Of course, we don’t do it flawlessly. We take our fair share of deductions as well. But we try.

Mostly because we have no choice.

Life is a tightrope-walking balance act from an early age.

I never cared much for the safety net below.

I’d run, never pacing myself, across that thin wire only to end up bruised and bloodied on the ground below. I’d climb that ladder, albeit a little slower each time, and take off at a trot once again. And fall. And repeat. A real circus act.

Until I finally reached the point where I needed the safety net. And the pole. Then, even, a harness. Sometimes I just stayed on the ladder never setting one foot forward.

But I got bored.

The problem was, I couldn’t do life hard AND comfortable at the same time.

And I wanted both.

At least medium well if we are comparing living to a fried egg. I need the adventure. I need spontaneity.

But I also need routine and the safety in the known.

So I’ve decided to introduce an algebraic equation into my life:

x= out of town trips and visiting grandkids (fyi this is the extent of my living hard…we might have different definitions of what HARD LIVING means)

y=special day trips (i.e. movie outings, beach, etc.), date nights, or special church events

z= peaceful days at home  (writing, cleaning, reading, cooking, chilling with the dogs)

20x + 20y + 60z = 100% BALANCED LIFE

 

I know it SOUNDS like I’m making a joke but I’m very serious! I’ve thought long and hard about this. Too much z makes me feel like I have one foot in the grave. Too much x will definitely get me there faster. Ys are fine but I need more. Especially more family time. So this is the formula I think I need in order to have a balanced, fulfilled life.

The best part?

Jesus is in the x, y, and z!!

 

GEAR UP: BEING A PEACEMAKER

It’s Sunday night! Time to gear up for a new week. As always, the best way to do that is to PUT ON THE ARMOR OF GOD (Ephesians 6:10-18) but we also will focus on ONE area to strengthen our walk with the Lord. Just one focus to help us grow a faith that cannot fade with the demands of life and the pressures of this world. This week we will focus on PEACEMAKERS!

My middle daughter is a peacemaker. I know the verse says BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS and I often thought that when she was younger.

But as she grew older, I started seeing it more as a weakness. She was taken advantage of by friends, she was pushed around by her siblings, she ended up in disastrous relationships.

Stand up for yourself, I’d cry. Fight back, I’d insist.

But it wasn’t in her nature.

She didn’t like conflict then and she still doesn’t like it. She has remained a peacemaker.

And you know what happened?

She ended up with good friends, a good boyfriend, and a great relationship with all of her siblings.

In fact, ask just about anyone in the four generations of our family who their favorite relative is and her name will usually be the first one that comes out.

Blessed are the peacemakers, indeed.

Try to be a peacemaker this week. Whether it’s at work, at home, or with friends and family elsewhere, be the one who makes volatile situations calmer, not the one who throws lighter fluid on the fire.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Matthew 5:9