- Life. Seriously. That breath…the one you just took reading this – and the next. The fact that your chest is rising and falling as your lungs fill with air and your heart beats. The fact that you woke up this morning – unique. The only YOU on planet earth.
- Relationships. Of all sorts. From the kind that go deep, stretching our thinking and impacting the core of who we are to “chance encounters” that, often while brief, have the opportunity just the same to leave a lasting impression.
- Freedom. No matter the issues we might have, there is little room for dispute that in comparing nations around the world, we live in a great country. A place where we can choose every day to succeed or fail, speak out or stay silent, dream or resign ourselves to someone else’s.
Today’s my birthday.
Over the years that has meant a lot of different things for me. Excitement. Anticipation. Disappointment. Anxiety. For at least a good decade (26ish – 36ish), birthdays seemed to mean little more than a reminder of what wasn’t. I wasn’t married. I wasn’t a mother. I wasn’t making some life-altering contribution to the world. I wasn’t fulfilling dreams or even taking advantage of opportunities right in front of me. I wasn’t fully living the life I had been given to live (this, I somehow just knew intuitively).
Year after year, I blamed the universe (and often God), for not giving me the life I was “supposed” to have…the life I even thought I somehow “deserved.” Part of that time, there was a veneer of confidence as I stubbornly tried to make my own way by earning degrees, starting a business, focusing on a career, building a social profile, etc. In the end, it was in vain. A lesson taken straight from the wisdom of King Solomon: I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind. (Ecclesiastes 1:14).
First, full disclosure: I do not have kids.
Over the course of life I have helped raise many as a nanny and am P.A.N.K. (Professional Auntie No Kids) to three nephews and four nieces as well as Aunt Chelle to many wee ones across the country. It’s fun. And, while there was a time that I wept over whether or not I would ever rock a baby to sleep, I now embrace this life that God has given me whole-heartedly. I even consider it a “bonus” that I get to sleep in and eat ice cream for breakfast if I want to!
All that said, interesting that God would give me this little nugget of insight into the whole parenting thing.
First, a bit of context: I’m a fundraiser. A common saying shared among those in my profession is “you can’t take it with you.” Or, if you prefer, a more picturesque version, “you never see a hearse pulling a U-Haul.” So out of nowhere one day last fall, I began thinking about this: other than STUFF, what else do we try to store up here on earth?
Scott Schofield works in a family court helping spouses, siblings, parents and children work their way through a variety of legal thickets. He loves to write, but his Accepting Responsibility blog: www.acceptingresponsibility.com is currently on hiatus until inspiration returns. Scott and his wife Nancy are empty-nesters living in Michigan, where he is an avid reader and fitness enthusiast. He worships weekly at what has come to be known as a “mega-church”, where on one Sunday a month he serves as greeter, saying “Good morning!” several hundred times. Scott’s greatest achievement is being named “World’s Best Grandpa”, a title verified by the coffee mug he has possessed for the last five years.
He stood at the bottom of the long staircase with a glass slipper in his hand. She slowly descended. Cinderella was no longer wearing the stunning blue gown she had worn at the ball.
The tattered dress she now wore was made no more colorful by the once-white smock that covered it. Gone too were the diamonds and pearls.
Smudges of fireplace ash had replaced her makeup. Cinderella knew her foot would fit effortlessly into the shoe he held; of that she had no doubt. It was something else that caused her concern. With each step down the stairs she wondered: “Look at me. I’m not a princess. I’m just a plain country girl. This is the real me. Do you truly love me? Will you take me just as I am?” Continue reading