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I spent the majority of my time as a child with my grandparents. They taught me to see the world as a beautiful place that was to be explored, loved, and honored. As I reflect, I see they lived through me as much as I now wish to live through them.

I think they needed hope, and what better place to grasp it than from little eyes full of wonder. They had seen life and experienced its sting, yet they still reached to find a way to love and live out gratitude despite it. That profound way of living both amazes and confounds me.

I have tried to continue to explore, love and honor, but as I age, it becomes harder. Yesterday, all alone, I collapsed and wept deeply. All I could manage to say in-between sobs was, “I can’t.” The realization of life’s sting had set in. The unfairness, the pain, the sorrow, the losses. I can’t find the beauty and wonder anymore.

This morning, I woke and walked my normal routine. I poured the coffee. I sat in my chair. I tried to pray. I sat in my powerless self.

I get angry at my grandparents sometimes. “Why didn’t they tell me life was so unfair? Why didn’t they shatter the wonder I had? Maybe it would have prepared me for the heartaches of life, maybe life’s jagged edges wouldn’t hurt so much.”

I went into the powder room. The walls are covered with encouragement and challenges. They have become a part of the wallpaper now, and I often don’t see them, but today my eyes settled on the large frame that incases the biggest challenge of all…”What will you choose?”

My grandparents knew hardship. They knew life wasn’t fair. They chose not to tell me. Instead, they lived out the solution. They chose to let me explore with wonder what the world had to offer. They knew I was watching them.

I have an older friend, he’s eighty-six years old, and not in good health. He is at the end of life’s journey and he just found out his daughter is too, do to illness. He is heartbroken. I found myself sitting in awe of him as I often do when I reflect on my grandparents. How does he do it? How does he get up each day?

The answer is choice. How are you going to live your life in a way that speaks louder than words of wisdom? My grandparents didn’t have to tell me that life was hard. Their life that I regularly revisit in my mind speaks volumes to my soul.

I often sit and wonder if I am raising my children right. I have tried to prepare them more than I was prepared, but I think what will speak louder is how I have chosen to live out gratitude and love. I have tried to live as close to my grandparents example as I can.

Lately, I have searched and searched my memories for the answer to my weariness.

I will find the answer when I answer this question, “What will you choose?”

I choose humility. I choose to realize how powerless I am to fix anything. I choose to accept that life is more about the example than the words. I choose to love until I bleed out, to give till I have nothing, to get back up every time I fall, to walk alongside the suffering, to cry with those who weep, to have faith even when it’s hard…I choose to look for the wonder and beauty in the darkest places.

The answer is choice.

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