One sigh

And in one sigh, I released a thousand regrets. Maybe a thousand regrets is an exaggeration. But after months of lamenting, months of undue pressure, months of carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders, I asked the simple question, “What is the point?”

I mean seriously, so many of us spend so much time trying to get life exactly right. As if today is tomorrow’s dress rehearsal. It’s not. It is our one guarantee for the day, actually not even the day, for the moment. Worry is such a waste of energy. And sometimes it has a partner, fear.

Worry and fear come visit us for different reasons. They have been my companion of late. I haven’t physically felt at the top of my game and I invited worry and fear to the party. Together they have mixed for one unpleasant cocktail.

But when I seriously think about it, what are they doing for me? When I stopped long enough from my potent drink to stop cowering and really answer the aforementioned question- life became a little clearer. They aren’t adding to my life; they are detracting from it. Worry and fear make you miserable. So much wasted energy combating an enemy that is in your mind.

I don’t think this realization is going to cause me to feel better overnight, but it did cause me to exhale a sigh of relief, which brought a measure of peace. I can’t go back and change decisions, small or not, that I regret and I can’t spend the future on the what- ifs. I really can only rest in the now. The clicking of my computer keys, the warmth of my home, the rocking of my chair, the assurances of my Savior.

Worry and fear cause your brain to get stuck like a cog in a wheel. It takes work to snap out of it and retrain your brain. Once you start convincing your brain the world is an unsafe place and someday you are going to die, it is more than happy to go into overdrive. This world is not perfect and I am far from perfect, but I do have a choice. A choice to live life and for it to be abundant.

If you are struggling with worry or fear, spend some time watching someone who lives in physical pain daily, who has a terminal illness or debilitating disease. Watch them as they smile. Watch them as they wake up every day still choosing to live out their days, not awaiting some unexpected doom, but joyfully looking towards the future. They are not allowing their circumstances to define them. They are living in the very precious present.

Life has its hard days. If you have been overwhelmed by fear and worry as I have, don’t make it worse by continuing to beat yourself up. You have a choice. It won’t change overnight necessarily, but it will make a difference. So, I haven’t felt well lately- this too shall pass. I have a choice. Drink the bitter, soul-permeating libation of fear and worry and allow it to rot my gut or choose to swallow the sweet nectar of faith, hope, joy and love. I choose the latter and I choose it now.

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Learn something new every day (plus it will help your love life)

A status on Facebook this morning was a quote by Robert Heinlein, ” When one teaches, two learn.” I absolutely love the truth of this statement.

Every day, I learn something new or relearn something I had forgotten. It can be a concrete fact about history or math, or a spiritual or emotional truth. It may just be marveling at how our children see the world, their bright , fresh perspective. Either way, it makes me feel not only alive, but in awe of how magnificent God created our brains to be! What a blessing to have such a learning center in the middle of our thick skulls! And yes, pun intended! 🙂

So, learning and our love lives…

So often, on a date in a long-standing relationship, we can run out of things to talk about or possibly talk about the wrong things, the go-to-things: the children, the finances, kids’ school activities, car problems, work related issues, and the list of potential negatives goes on and on.

Not too long ago before a date with my sweetie, I pulled out the newspaper. I went straight to the section I never read, SPORTS. I made a short list of interesting facts. I moved on to any article on politics, world affairs, and religion. By the time we walked out the door for our date, my brain was in overdrive, humming and purring like the engine of a well-tuned, classic 1964 Mustang. I had enough new facts I had absorbed that I am sure hundreds, maybe thousands of neurons were etching new road maps in my brain.

We ordered, we chatted about the restaurant and our day, and then the moment came when I started to veer to snoozeville topics. Quickly, I corrected, and steered my way to my first new learning fact. ” So, what do you think about Marty Brenneman’s plan to shave his head?” I softly and smoothly inquired.
( For those of you interested, he is Cincinnati Reds’ sportscaster since 1974. He had a beautiful long and thick head of hair that he shaved to raise $50,000 for charity.)

David had a lot to share about that topic and the others I had “studied” that day. I sat back and listened to him speak with great enthusiasm at the end of a long workday. I am pretty sure he had already spoken his 7,000 words a man speaks a day, long before the car door shut as we headed to the restaurant. But three hours flew by before we realized it was time to go home and relieve the babysitters.

At some point in the evening, David was curious about where I had heard this fact or that fact. I just casually mentioned the various places I had acquired my newfound knowledge. He never said anything, but I could tell it had resonated with him that I had become well versed in subject matter that he cared about, because I cared about him. I had taken the time.

Sometimes, you don’t have to say anything. It is all spoken in the way he rushes to get the door for you. The way he holds your hand a little tighter on the way home. The way the driveway kiss lingers before you officially end the date, out of the house.

Yes, I love learning something new every day.