days like these

sometimes i stop and think about this beautiful mess of a life i’m living, and i get totally overwhelmed. it’s those moments that leave me speechless, my heart so full of things i don’t know how to articulate. i feel so…happy, so utterly blown away by all the good things God has placed on my path.

today’s one of those days. true, nothing much in and of itself happened, but i’ve learned that it’s the simpler things that bring such joy.

for example, i slept in this morning. ‘so what?’ you may be thinking. ‘it’s the weekend; that’s what you’re supposed to do.’ but sleeping in can be difficult in Liberia. it’s loud here. the rooster’s crowing, drums are beating, people are yelling, car horns are blaring. and it’s hot, too. so if the noise doesn’t wake me up, my sweating does. but not this morning. i slept in—and oh, how i needed that! i’ve been near exhaustion all week long, yet i woke up this morning rested and refreshed. i even stayed in bed for an extra half hour, snuggled up with my pillow and enjoying the cool breeze. ‘thank You,’ i whispered and then i got out of bed and walked out to my porch.

there, sitting in my favorite chair, drinking hot coffee and letting the warm morning sunlight wash over my face, i breathed another prayer of gratitude. ‘these are the good things in life,’ i thought. i spent probably another hour on the porch, singing along to Enter the Worship Circle (one of my favorites) and reading Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz (another one of my favorites). i did some writing and laughed at our dog chasing lizards around the yard.

as i ate my oatmeal, i was keenly aware of how blessed i am to have food to eat. there are men and women and children all around me who are hungry.

a little while later, i went to the beach with Cramer. he was going surfing, so i decided to tag along and spent some time in the sun. it was beautiful. i swam in the ocean for almost an hour, the waves splashing around me and sand in between my toes. i couldn’t stop smiling, even when the sky turned dark with rain clouds and i had to get out of the water.

back at home, i settled into the hammock and watched the torrents of rain come down. lightly swinging back and forth, i just started thinking. about life. about relationships. about God. do you have any idea how sweet it is to be alone with only your thoughts, savoring what is drifting around in your mind, instead of rushing through them? it’s delightful.

after that, Deb and i sat on the front porch and played cards. we laughed and ate chocolate and drank Coke. later, we went to dinner at Sajj with Cramer and Alvina. good food. good friends. these things are so simple, really. but they’re the things memories are made of.

after we got home again, i called Lisa to wish her a happy birthday. it had been my prayer that her birthday would be full of all her favorite things, that it would make her heart light and happy and put a smile on her face. there’s a huge part of me that wishes i could have been there with her today. we’ve had so much fun in the past with our double birthday celebrations (hers is the fifth of December; mine’s the tenth). for a moment, i was sad that i had to miss that again. but then i started thinking about how thankful i am for her, and for our friendship, and how much i celebrate her every day, whether i’m in Reading or here in Liberia. and that made me realize—yet again—just how good God is, that He loves me so much that He would give me friends like her. so later, when we connected via messenger, i came to realize that my prayer was answered, and she was indeed having a wonderful birthday. and for the (seemingly) millionth time today, i was overcome with happiness.

that’s when i decided to write this blog. for days like these are sweet and simple and happy and good—but they can’t all be like this. dark days will inevitably come, and my heart will be tempted to forget the joy it has known. but, when that happens, i can look back. and, when i do, i’ll remember once again His goodness. and that is what will keep me going—the hope of another day like this one.

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