Tuesday, January 31, 2012

One day

There are all these cliche quotes about seizing the day, or making the most of each day, or living each day as if it were your last.  We hear them, we spew them, we take little time to think about what they really mean.  Occasionally we read a book like The Last Lecture, we hear a story about a sudden death, or a child with cancer, perhaps we lose someone we love, and then we remember to actually do it.  For a while, the length of time depends on how deeply you were touched by a loss experienced.  And then living fully each day becomes again a cliche.  Because life goes on, and it's too busy to focus on the gift of the thing.  

I think this is true because it's hard to imagine what it actually looks like to live each day in fullness.  We all think, if today was my last day, well of course I wouldn't clean my house or pay my bills or go to work, but since that's not my reality, I must do all of those things, and how can I possibly live fully while paying the NW Natural bill?  Personally, if I knew a day was my last day on this earth, I would probably act like a dog chasing my tail, and having too much love to spread and hugs to give, and loose ends to tie up that I would likely waste that last day making sure someone could find all the photos I'd taken and had the password to my laptop.  Sad.  

But really, one day does have the power to change my life.  As I pondered how to be open to days that fill me and change me, it got me to thinking of some of the unexpected days that changed my life.  

  • The day I met Lawrence.  We woke up that day, both wishing we didn't have to go to a stupid one day quality training seminar in a stuffy hotel conference room in Boise, Idaho
  • The day I met Lily
  • The day I met Addie
  • The day I met Bryson  
  • The day I first tried out for a Missoula Children's Theater play, when, on a whim, my mom came to get me and brought me to my audition late.  Related to that, the day I got the call that I was accepted to the MCT Performing Arts Camp  
  • The day I found out my Grandma Jo died
  • The day I was asked to take a job in 'The New York Office'
  • The day Lily and I had a very special conversation about Jesus  
  • The day my little brother was born 
  • The day my neighbor came over to introduce me to her and her 16 month old son, Nathaniel
  • The day I was driving to work on a sunny September day and saw a plane fly into the side of a building in the far off skyline, thinking it was a dumb mistake, and then seeing another one do the same and knowing that it was not
  • The day I got the call to work on the YCC crew for the summer with the US Forest Service when I was 15
  • The day Robin came over to invite me to LaLeche League
  • The day that I bumped into my long lost Dawn at Will's orientation for University of Montana  
  • The day that Will came out to me
  • The day that we first decided to go for it, and start trying to get pregnant with our first child
  • The day that I kissed Wes in the back of a weird station wagon  
  • The day that my good friend Jim died  
  • The day I went to a baby chiropractor to see if she could fix Bryson's colic - Related, the day that I emailed Dr. Sarah and asked her for permission to stop nursing my colicky RSV 5 week old.
  • The day that my brother left for Iraq
  • The day I got my heart broken into a million pieces by a boyfriend I hoped to marry.  
  • The day I got a call from my ex-roommate's hometown friend, asking if I needed a place to live the summer before my sophomore year of college.  That girl ended up being the matron of honor at our wedding.    
  • The day I went to a temp job at NYK Line, and a girl with glasses named Jeanine with a new baby daughter sat down and trained me to enter container numbers into a NICS system  
  • The day a girl named Carrie responded to my ad on Craigslist for a nanny, she didn't end up being our nanny, but she ended up being a life line instead
  • The day my house was set on fire
  • The day I gave Rachel's mom from KinderCare a roll of green tape to mark her breastmilk bottles at home 
  • The day I broke my foot
  • The day the boyfriend I hoped to marry, got down on a knee asked me.  I had never felt so wanted and loved in all of my life.  The reality of the commitment that he wanted to make with me.  I felt so...chosen.  

Each of those days have a long and heartfelt story to them, some of them I have blogged and some of them I haven't.  Some of them are the day that led to a much greater and more profound story, a story that went far beyond the events of that day, and shaped me in some beautiful way.  Each of those days I could describe almost every detail, and many of which I know the actual date on the calendar.  I remember the smells in the air, the way I felt, what I was wearing.  every.single.thing.  The thing they all have in common is that for every single one of them I woke up and didn't expect anything special or different to happen that day, it was an ordinary day to get through.  Not necessarily one I remembered to seize.  Maybe I had coffee, showered, got dressed, felt rushed, tired, annoyed maybe, happy maybe, and yet they still shifted my life in a big and lasting way.  They made me look at life in a whole new way.  I was loved at the right times, for who I needed to be loved for at that time.  I got to love in ways I never knew possible.  I mourned.  Friendships flourished.  New understandings began.  I could relate.  I could appreciate.  A life course started to roll a new direction I could have never imagined.  All because one day went the way it did.  

At Women of Faith in October, the very wise Patsy Clairmont told us to start off the day every day saying 3 things.

Yes, No, and Thank you.  

I believe in God, so I will put it in those terms, but if you don't I know this still applies to you.  

Yes- I'm open and ready for whatever the day holds for me.  Use me for the greater good, for the purpose I'm meant for. Use me for Your higher purposes, for goodness and joy, to spread Your love.  YES, I am ready and willing.

No- To the people and things I should say no to.  The things that suck your time, energy, and soul.  You know what those things are.  You know because you leave those people, activities, and things feeling drained, tired, and dread doing them.  Unfortunately those no's are needed towards some people, and if you are a pleaser (like me), you want to spend time and energy on everyone.  But if you leave a conversation feeling negative, tired, and there is something just ugh.  You need to be conscious to say no to those people.  The ones you shouldn't say no to are the ones who leave you feeling inspired, encouraged, joyful, who leave you wanting more time together.    

Thank you- GRATITUDE IS AN ATTITUDE.  Wear it, smile it, think it.  You have so darn many things in this life to say thank you for that your heart could explode if you took the time to think about it.  So think about it.  Every morning.  

Then roll out of bed and get ready for a day that could change your life.  Or maybe it won't.  But it is an interesting thing to sit back and think about the days that changed your life unexpectedly, or in unexpected ways.  

Tell me about some of the days that changed your life.  


  1. First day as a real teacher was the first day I met my husband.... : )

  2. #1 One night, same as any other, in a bar in Georgetown where I met Timbo. #2 The day in the pet store where Roofus put his clean white fluffy puppy paw on the window as if to say "Pick me because I pick you." #3 The moment my Grandpa took his last breath on 6.19.1995.

    Jenny, I do this sort of recall on my blog. I call it a "Random Memory" and they come to me every once in a while. Fun stuff... memories.