Tuesday, July 12, 2016

 I love walking through marinas, enjoying the calm rhythm of waves lapping against docked boats...one of my favorite sounds. I also love the serenity of ocean waves spilling onto shoreline. The lull of each ebb and flow hushes my soul. 
 But there is no such peace in the constant pounding of life's anxieties and irritations; those waves can beat down our weary souls.
I've had my share of frustrations these past weeks. I've battled one by one: insurance re-certifications, shaky social workers, leaky faucets, giant-sized walkers. I've fought loneliness, pain, a pile of medical bills. But yesterday, one too many waves spilled and all came crashing down.
My driver, a good friend, stood by helpless. I limped out of the Fed Ex lobby and three years of grief and exhaustion overflowed. 
You see, just like the ocean's rhythm, life can lull us into believing if we just try hard enough, fight long enough, we can put on a brave front and make it through life on our own might. I'd surely convinced myself and perhaps most others, that I was winning the fight.
It was an ugly breakdown yesterday; I even cried for God to just take me Home. But ultimately, surrender is beautiful.  I lost my battle with pride and self-sufficiency! 
My current therapy assistant has hinted that I might have a life-long limp from my injury. Thankfully, with more therapy, my surgeon disagrees, but the image is not lost on me. I'm reminded of Jacob, the heel grabber, subdued in his wrestle with God...a dislocated hip, a limp, a blessing. Was it the surrender or the limp that saved Jacob's life?
I'm learning it's not my fight. 
Paul wrote to young Timothy, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." 
It wasn't Paul's fight either.
Faith! I almost overlooked the connection. Paul surrendered his difficult race to his God. Faith...putting the fight back into God's hands.

 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships,in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  
2 Corinthians 12:9-10NIV


Saturday, July 2, 2016

My friend, Laura, is a giver according to the #TheHappinessDare assessment.
After a packed day, she bopped into my hospital room with Eagle Scout cake and cookies, a Scripture coloring book and these glorious gel pens. Her gift was the conversation starter of every employee and guest; the pen tower just made everyone smile! 
I have a lot of friends whose happiness style appears to be givers. If you could have only seen the carryout cart full of flowers and balloons, a beautiful new nightgown mixed in with perfectly folded, clean laundry, and even Lorna Doones! 
What I've discovered is that I am a terrible receiver! I immediately started the "you shouldn't have" and wanted to bounce out of bed (on one leg) and buy each kind giver a present.  I would have flunked GIFT GRACE if it too had been part of the Happiness inventory
Why do I feel so uncomfortable being the recipient? I scored fairly high as a giver, but I'm not at all sure that would be the reason. It's probably wrapped up in my flawed I don't deserve it self-worth, like most things. What I have discovered is that I rob my friends of their happiness when I get all clammy and awkward about being on the receiving end; I'm afraid my genuine delight and gratitude gets lost in the moment.  Considering I scored off the charts as a happy THINKER, wouldn't I feel cheated if the givers and relaters rolled their eyes at all of the thoughts that flow from my musings? Yes, this has me thinking—no pun intended.
In all seriousness, Jennifer Dukes Lee's new book is stretching me; it's freeing me to accept my happiness style and venture into the others. I actually find I feel quite content when I cross off an item on my (well, pretty short) to do list. I might never score high on the doer profile, but I'm not ignoring the satisfaction of being productive either. But just as important, her book is encouraging me to embrace my friends and family's expressions of happiness. 
I can't wait for you all to get The Happiness Dare in your hands so we can continue the discussion. Until then, I'll go back to daydreaming....