Thinking back, these last few weeks, I’ve been trying to remember what I have hoped for over the six decades I have lived.
I am a product of a recovered alcoholic father, one who knew the plight of the black man and the stereotype of a woman’s role. He also lived the power of a creator who kept him sober until the day he went ‘on home’. I lived in a house full of faith but very little church going.
I came of age as a young woman in the sexual revolution of the 70s. Which might be as meaningless as the rotary phone to anyone reading this who is under 40, but a revolution in our culture it was. I grew up being told I could do anything I wanted to do, with hard work and determination. This was my dad’s mantra to me despite the inconsistency in his own life. My mother was a dutiful if not always happy wife and I was her confidante. She loved my dad with a true and loyal love but she labored and chaffed under the faulty thinking that limited her gender. She knew there should be more respect and expectation.
I can’t say I was ever driven to be the head of a company or even go to graduate school. I didn’t harbor dreams of fame or influence. Can’t say I ever hoped to be wealthy.
The truth is once I had my three sons, I felt a kind of satisfaction that I assumed would direct the rest of my life. If you add to these expectations that I am not a person who finds a lot of dissatisfaction in life in general and fairly game to let life happen and adjust as necessary, well, that’s how I would describe my life’s plan.
I am telling you this for two reasons.
The first is the most important. God clearly has had a road laid out for me that I would never have dreamed for, imagined, or hoped for.
The second is that along that road, He has taught me truths, things that are sure about this life, that I would never have known if He hadn’t made the plan He did.
So where am I?
In all the tragedies, the joys, the chance to meet people who don’t think like me or dress like me or share my faith, the appreciation of this amazing planet we live on, for the lives of my sons, I would never have known the richness God had in store for me. For a husband who still abides with me, each day with little reminders that make me weep a bit but still feel his love, I pray in wonder. For the increasing number of people that God places in my heart, for the steadfastness of the Holy Spirit that teaches me daily how to think about all those filling my heart, I am heady with power that is mine by proxy.
And there’s where this week’s truth comes in. God finished explaining something about that power I mentioned above. He told me one of the ways He wants me to use it. I think He’s not only been desperate for me to know it, but expectant in the joy I would gain from it.
Some months ago, when I was has listening to my favorite bible teacher talk about jealousy. I thought to myself, I am not a jealous person, I don’t really have to pay attention here.
And something sort of niggled at my conscious.
And I started thinking about how many times during a week do I consider that when someone tells me something that is good about them, they share a joy with me, do I make a judgement about whether they are bragging?
And how many times during a week do I wish that someone didn’t have good luck or a blessing that I didn’t think was deserved?
Well, I don’t think I want to admit any more examples, because as it turns out, even someone who is as ‘satisfied with her life as I am’, spends a lot of emotional and psychological currency in the wrong store.
There is no other less fruitful way that I could spend my thoughts and affections then finding some ways to deny someone else’s happiness, especially when they are willing to share it with me.
So this week God said it clearly. He spoke directly into my heart so I’d have no doubts.
With my Silent Bob in Paradise, I don’t have the expectation of being his caddy again. (I secretly hope the afterlife has golf). But let’s face it, there really aren’t any more expectations of memories to be made here.
The sad and awful truth is that I am not alone in the loss of expectations. They come in all forms to all people and as much as one would like to wish it wasn’t so, they are part of this life.
But what God made very clear is that there is a freedom, there is a very real peace, there is a very real value to participating in someone else’s joy, in sharing someone else’s expectations come to fruit.
You don’t have to judge it, you don’t have to evaluate it, you don’t have to compare it. All you have to do is be happy for them. Just give over and be happy for them. And what that does, is put a sense of rightness, a sense of beauty in a world that daily throws everything else but peace and joy at you.
Surprisingly it eases my own sorrow.
It takes away the sting of disappointments in a way that nothing else can.
It thwarts the evil of this world.
This week, that simple truth of heart and mind made me a truly powerful women. To my gain, I get joy just for sharing in someone’s else’s happiness.
What a fine plan.
Where am I?
Right where God wants me.