There was a time in my life when tomorrow tingled with possibility.
Have you seen the way children wake up? Alive with energy and expectation. That was me. High expectations. All it took, really, was a toad on a tree or a sparkling stone, to make a moment great. Life met my expectations. Again and again.
What captured your attention as a child?
Older kids begin associating career goals with the future. I imagined myself a teacher, each lesson astounding and life changing for students; a missionary, transforming the destinies of orphaned children.
Have you noticed that in TV shows commutes are always quick? An hour is reduced to thirty seconds. A long, hard talk takes minutes. Showering, preparing meals, eating and washing up happen off screen. The world I see on TV is intense and exciting, every moment loaded with significance.
Do you ever feel like your existence doesn’t quite measure up?
I once believed that adventure could be a defining characteristic of each moment, like it is in the movies, but I think I’ve stumbled onto a secret. There is a routine essential to life that none of us can escape. Certain things must happen every day and those things take time and discipline. Making a bed. Combing hair. Listening to those I love.
I suppose I could ditch my job, house and family in pursuit of excitement and non-stop stimulation, but that would quickly become very tiring and very empty, offering a buzz very different from long-term contentment. The key, maybe, is to edit the mental image of our ideal life – the one that keeps us restless and certain that, with the right tweaks, we could walk into That Life.
What about This Life? The one we seem stuck with – the one that includes gimpy bodies, imperfect family members, boring jobs and bad weather?
There is a summons on your life and mine and it’s profound. It might not feel that way, but it is. There are things you can do – things you are doing – that no one else can do. No one else is you. You matter. What is more meaningful than faithfulness? And doesn’t faithfulness often seem dull and demanding? There is no soundtrack as you walk beside someone with health problems or emotional challenges or as you clean up after or cook for others, as you listen when you’d rather read, or talk when you’d rather be quiet, as you donate your energy to invisible tasks that others might not notice, but that make a quiet difference.
I’m not suggesting we give up on treats or trips and I’m not going to tell you how to feel good about your life. Your idea of adventure might be might be my idea of suicidal, and my idea of meaningful might seem very mundane to you. There are as many ways to make normal lives interesting as there are people and places. What I want to leave you with is the thought that today, your life matters. You matter. There is a summons, and if you are being quietly faithful to it, one moment at a time, you are doing something no one else can do.
You are a game changer.
This morning I heard a song I used to love to sing in church. Following Jesus – answering His call – has taken me into prisons, nursing homes and missions and its kept me at home; some days the call seems exciting, but most often it requires the routine discipline of faithfulness. Here’s the song that inspired today’s post: The Summons