A dear friend of mine moved to Manhattan with her sweet family over a year ago. It was a surprise move for onlookers. A few months ago she wrote a blog post about new places & embracing the challenge of change that comes with a move.
In case you were wondering, we didn’t move to Manhattan. Just a small, dusty town where three rivers meet in Washington. We are surrounded by farm land. The thai restaurant boasts the same aged décor that it did in 1992. The thrift stores are second-rate. The school buses are first class. But whether Manhattan or our small corner of the world, people are people.
I’m slowly realizing that although we don’t have tour books written about our new hometown & that most Saturday’s I’m scratching my head (or pulling my hair out) trying to entertain my kids, this is home. This is life for us, dust bunnies & tumbleweeds & painted sunsets. I will have to put on my big-girl pants and accept invitations to coffee dates even when I’d rather stay home in my pajamas. We will have to walk the fine line of establishing family boundaries to stay within & purposely swerve outside our paint lines to meet new people. We will have to let our kids stay up past their bedtime, feed them Mac & Cheese for the third time in one month (it’s a real treat around here), & let them wear grass-stained pants to bed because time with community is more important than a ridged bedtime schedule. I will have to say YES more often than it feels comfortable. Not only in this next year or two while we settle, but forever. Yes to new friends. Yes to scary life changes. Yes to new experiences. Yes to my husband when I’d rather spend my time locked in a closet with only myself as company. Yes to my kids when I don’t feel like the energy is there. Yes to LIFE.
Guard your spare moments. They are live uncut diamonds. Discard them & their value will never be known. Improve them & they will become the brightest gems in a useful life. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
New home. New town. New jobs. We are surrounded by uncut diamonds. And it doesn’t seem to be the how I spend the moments that matters, but how I treat the moments that I remember.
Entertainment is a funny word. I’m not even sure why slapped that title on this category. The truth is that we, in this illustrious modernized iphone-ized world have “entertainment” in the common sense of the word, at our fingertips all the time. We don’t line up at the theater dressed in Sunday-best to see new hits. We (in our family) don’t often turn over large portions of our budget to local concerts or venues. Maybe it is because we feel entertained enough by what we surround ourselves with.
But am I treating those moments with reverence? Am I making memories from them? What am I telling myself when I spend an hour pre-REM scrolling my Instagram feed? Am I feeding my eyes or feeding my soul? And maybe most important of all, am I spending my soul well?
For as much as my brain needs a shut-off switch at night, my soul needs an equally desperate fire.
The average human gets around twenty five thousand days on this Earth, and most of us in the USA will get a few more. That’s it. This life is a breath. Heaven is coming fast, and we live in the thin space where fairht and obedience have relevance. We have this one life to offer; there is no second chance, no Plan B for the good news. We get one shot at living to expand the Kingdom, fighting for fustice. We’ll stand before Jesus once, and none of our luxuries will accompany us. We’ll have one moment to say, “This is how I lived”. (Jen Hatmaker, “7”)
(Real life update: I've totally failed in this department. Alone is my comfort zone & safety net. And although I've made satisfying progress at home in spending my moments well (most days--I'm still a real person), I am still idling in the service & love & outreach & friendship categories. The good news is that we are only halfway through the year. I know myself too well.)