Life is roses and thorns, bitter and sweet, kittens and terrorists, bad and good. It’s a big jumble of it all, and sometimes you reach into the bowl of life to get a bite, and you are nervous to see what is being served to you now.
Life is never perfect. Sometimes it feels close to perfect, and there are moments when you want to lean back and savor it forever because it seems so perfect. But then, like always, the spell is broken – perhaps by a crying child, bad news, or an earthquake.
Recently, it’s felt like heaps of small things one after another.
And by small, I mean things like having to vacate our house because of mold, and anaphylactic shock. And once again I am forced to meet life’s diverse experiences all jumbled together in my life. Leaving great neighbors behind, meeting new friends, experiencing scary new things, and tender sweet ones too.
All of the change, good and bad, has left my family feeling unsettled and unsure, even while we are forced to leap back into life. While we are starting to settle into a new routine, tempers flare, children whine, and cats scratch.
It hasn’t always been pretty.
Maybe you are like me, and you need some encouragement. I was looking through my recent photos, and remembered why I should be encouraged, despite everything else. I hope sharing some of my things I am thankful for prompts you to look for those gifts in your life as well. To see some of the pictures I share, you can also follow me on Instagram!
This is what encouraged me tonight
We live in a world where 4-year-old girls face down their fear of doing new things, and are little warriors out on the soccer field, sweetly figuring it out while they go. I inspire to both the courage and joy my kids show me.
We live in a world where even among the rough animal-eating-animal world, there can be tenderness and care too. I find the stories of wild animals making friends with strangers, or even better, saving them, amazing. Birds find a way to tenderly care for their offspring in polluted cities. Like this one, who apparently raided a summer art camp. If they use resources around them, so can we, if we can just open our eyes to the gifts around us.
We live in a world where suffering makes us weep, but also a world where babies smile in pure delight. And a world with smiles like this is worth fighting for.
We live in a world where misuse of resources has lead to horrible loss of resources and beauty. But we also live in a world where human work and ingenuity has produced beautiful things – like this forest, which was decimated by many forest fires. It has, through the work of hundreds and hundreds of people, been brought back to life.
We live in a world where people power grab, take advantage of world disasters for evil purposes, and who profit off the blood of the enslaved. But we also live in a world where sweet little children give gifts of love, like wildflowers and big hugs, and all they ask in return is to be loved back. They are a future worth striving to protect.
We live in a world where personal betrayal happens all to often in all relationships – both in our love relationships and friendships. But sometimes you find that friend who would lay down their life for you. And sometimes you find a true deep love that you will hold onto through tears and joys and heartbreak and comfort. It’s enough to give you hope.
And finally, ice cream. I don’t know about you, but a world that gives us ice cream? That is a world worth celebrating. In fact, I just had an ice cream treat and I am incredibly encouraged. 😉
We may have struggles and problems, but I am encouraged and thankful for and by the gifts I have been given.