Monday, December 1, 2014

Why so Serious?

I saw an elderly woman pushing her seemingly more elderly husband around Wal-Mart today in a nifty wheelchair/grocery cart.  And then I saw them again. And then, we almost ran slam over each other in the bread aisle. We laughed and side stepped each other. 

And THEN, they slipped in behind me in the check out line and we smiled at each other and I was sure they were thinking what I was thinking:  Lord, are you trying to show me something with these encounters with this sweet couple?  

But I guess God was showing them something else entirely because they started playing with the compulsion items and laughing and talking and basically ignoring me as I was staring them down. And stare them down, I did. He tossed her the items he could reach from his wheelchair and she slowly lifted the other items from the bottom of the wheelchair/grocery cart onto the belt as I began to load my final bags into my cart and whip out my debit card. And then, I stared some more. I don't think they noticed. They were still goofing around and being happy or they may have been whispering to ignore the lady who keeps staring. I don't know for sure.

After I pushed and pulled all the bags from my buggy into the back of my SUV, I climbed into the driver's seat and started to cry.  I cry more now than I did when I was younger. I guess it could totally be hormones but I think I cry more now because life and all the things in it just seem more important to me now. 

Things like sweet elderly couples who are having a blast in Wal-Mart even though his legs don't work anymore and are kind of crooked.  It makes me realize that perseverance is underrated and that running the race sometimes means being faithful and good and kind in the simple things that are often the hardest things.

 It's important to remember to run the race in such a way that we remember that all the runners are running, but only one can have the prize. Only I get the prize in MY life and perseverance will often determine what my prize will be and how my blessings pan out. That's serious stuff right there. 

Things like a bread aisle that is packed with so many kinds of bread that I actually get to mash around on the loaves to see which one is the softest before picking one. I mean, for pete's sake, who wants a loaf of bread that will be old in like three days, right? Major 1st world problem there, but I forget sometimes and I don't want to forget because it's the little things that sneak up on us and make us ungrateful. And being ungrateful is serious to me (just ask my kids when they're ungrateful) but not quite as serious as being grateful (just ask my kids when they have grateful hearts). 

Or things like fresh fruit in the winter. Ya'll they had ORGANIC bananas in Wal-Mart today of all places. I may have done a weird dance for a second but I don't think anyone saw me. The older I get, I'm not sure I even care. It was like the food lottery up in there.

That moment of thankfulness stayed with me all day and I don't want to miss being thankful. That is SUPER serious to me. I want to share all the things I'm thankful for with others and I hope God will one day give me a change to do just that.

And then, my brain goes like this:  People are hungry.  People are lonely. People are lost. People are cold. People are killing each other. Mothers have lost their babies. Fathers have lost their sons. Wives have lost their husbands. People are hurt. And people are hurting.  And I'm worried about a freakin' piece of bread being fresh and whether I have organic bananas!  And then I cry.  

...I already know it's neurotic...thanks...

But, here's the thing: I think sometimes the world could be a little more serious. I think we could care more. Love more. Live more. Give more. I think we can not only do the hard things, I think things are going to get harder if we don't get serious about doing the hard things right now.

I think if we don't start finding joy in simple things like organic bananas at Wal-Mart and sweet elderly couples who haven't lost their love for one another, we're going to lose our joy at the big things. We're going to forget that there are big things and our hearts get hard and our attention gets sucked into ourselves like a big 'ole fat, narcissistic black hole instead of looking outward at a world that is starving not only for food, but for love.  

We need to get serious about where we find our joy and what makes our hearts break. We need to remember that only broken hearts let anything into them. The cracks and breaks are where the love and empathy and compassion live. 

Our world is turning into a place where people just can't take focusing on the heartbreak of the world because it gets them down. I've heard more than once in the last few months that I just take things more serious than other people. But here's the thing:  If our hearts don't break, then whose will?  If we don't take the broken, lost, hurting world and believe that the broken and the lost and the hurting people are serious business, then who will? 

I think that we must surrender ourselves to something other than ourselves. And watching this elderly wife push her husband around Wal-Mart today made me remember that.  She was happy serving him, pushing him along, being his legs when his no longer worked.  She glowed. And you did he. 

I want to believe that's how it works. I want to believe that through serving, even when it's really hard, we find our joy and our purpose. I want to believe that when we choose to seriously love, we experience God.  I need to believe it. There is joy to be had in being serious about something outside ourselves. And that's a serious thing.

I'm going to own up and just admit that the older I get the more I realize I don't know. Every day I feel dumber, y'all.  I realize how little I actually understand and how little I grasp fully.  I realize that my belief that I could change the world almost killed me, but...

But here's one little thing that I think I've finally got by it's hem:  We're in this thing together and we need to take that seriously. We need to just wake up tomorrow and be kinder.  We need to wake up tomorrow and serve something outside ourselves if we're going to make our world a little bit better, even if it's just me one day pushing my elderly husband around in a wheelchair/grocery cart thing in Wal-Mart and laughing in the compulsion aisle while a younger lady looks on and smiles (neurotically) at our joy because we persevere and we have faith and we took our part in this world seriously.

No comments:

Post a Comment