Sunday, January 21, 2007

Gladness Come Rain or Shine

I’m all for conservation. But I’m struggling with our new lighting. Todd has replaced the garden variety 60-watters in my kitchen with these new energy efficient bulbs. They kind of slow burn for about ten minutes before light fully shines. So you have to plan well in advance for your lighting needs. Unfortunately, it’s all downhill from there, because when the light does finally stream, it paints the room in this ghastly greenish fluorescence. My kitchen now has all the ambience of Cellblock 14. Sgt. Mahoney could usher all the folks from his holding cell into my kitchen and easily get them to talk. Need a confession? Grab some leg irons and come stand by my sink.

I was making peanut butter sandwiches for the kids' lunch the other morning. Todd walked in and said, “Aren’t the lights working?”

“They’re working great,” I replied.

“Then why are you standing here in the dark?” he asked.

“Because I feel like I’m on death row every time I flip the switch.” I replied.

Combine the look of my kitchen with the unusual weather we’ve been having in Texas. Snow and rain and sleet and heavy, masking gray skies. Everything looks so bleak.

So imagine my joy this morning when I looked out the window and saw the first morning stream of sunlight. It made me smile. I don’t have to live today like a wombat in my kitchen and we can all get outside and enjoy the radiance.

It’s a new semester at Dallas Seminary and we’re studying the Psalms. The poetic and lyrical book of the Bible that teaches us to praise God in good times and bad. I was struck when I saw the sun this morning at my viscerally joyful reaction to the light. It’s a sun I’ve known for 45 years. A sun I largely take for granted. But today, I thank God for that sun. Because I just recently left the darkness. I can almost taste the contrast today.

What I aspire for in my spiritual life, however, is an unshakable spirit of gratitude that looks up to the sky and thanks God for every type of weather (and every type of light bulb, for that matter). That there would be gladness and appreciation irrespective of rain or shine.

I’m a work in progress toward that end. How about you?

"You must live every moment. The good moments, the bad moments, and all the in-between moments. Each one is there for a reason, Jimmy. And only by living each moment will you truly be able to live."

Baseball for Breakfast by Bill Myers

(Photo by haijak; see for restrictions.)

Blaring on my I-Pod: "'Saving Me" by Nickelback


Nancy said...

Is your glass half full or half empty? There's a bright side to everything, you just have to look deep and open your heart. When the OB/GYN looked at my sonogram and said to me, "There's Baby A and there's Baby B -- you're having twins!" I thought, "I only have two arms... tell me there's no Baby C and I'll feel even more blessed!" Of course, if I was told there was a Baby C, I'd have thought, "Well, it could be more difficult... there could be a Baby D!" BTW, those twins are nearly 15-years old and I wouldn't trade them for the world!!!

Snow in Texas? I hope you got enough to make snow angels and did just that!

"When life hands you lemons, make lemonade!" I'm not sure what you can do about those green lightbulbs. Perhaps there's an engineer or an interior designer out there with a suggestion. In the meantime, look at the bright side. You have a kitchen -- a working kitchen -- with an abundance of food and a family and friends to share it with. And, for that, you can be extremely thankful.

Love you lots and miss you terribly!

Sarah Onderdonk said...

Nancy... one of the things I've always loved about you is your "go with the flow" cheerfulness and optimism.

We are so blessed (and spoiled) in the U.S. It's easy to slip into a comfortable groove and take for granted all that God has blessed us with here. I remember right after the cancer diagnosis being in a traffic jam. It was close to Christmas and people were aggressively cutting in and out of slow-moving traffic trying to save a few seconds here and there. The tension and aggression was palpable. And I remember thinking... Wow... I'm just glad to BE here... I don't care how long it takes to get where I'm going today... I'm just glad to be ALIVE.

I try to remind myself of that day on the days I forget to be grateful. It's a powerful wake-up call, really. And, you are so right about the bright side. There are people in our world who will go to bed hungry tonight. People who have no electricity or warmth or space to call their own. They'd give anything for my kitchen and those green lights, wouldn't they...

Love you, Nancy. Thanks for writing.