"What He ordains for us each moment is what is most holy, best, and most divine for us." Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Looking for Lovely in 2016

A friend sent me an email last week stating that I needed to write one more blog for 2016 in order to get off of 13. Yes, I have only blogged 13 times this year. I quickly typed, "Challenge accepted," and hit the send button. So I've been thinking a lot about what I could write that might be more than just words on a page and I was completely "blogged" down (please forgive the pun). In fact, as of this time yesterday morning, I had totally given up. After all, who wants to read, "2016: A Year of Heartbreak"?  And quite frankly, it was just too hard to look at. But three days ago, I picked up Annie F. Downs book, Looking for Lovely: Collecting the Moments that Matter," and after completing it, my mind has been transformed to a new way of thinking.

As I read back through my 2016 journal earlier this week, over and over I had written, "My heart is just so broken this morning." So, yes, the original title, "2016: A Year of Heartbreak," could have worked and been very appropriate. For example, in the first quarter of 2016, my oldest son went through an unexpected divorce. On the Richter scale of my heart, it was a full blown 10. The 2nd quarter saw the return of my brother's brain tumor. Once again, our lives were shaken. August revealed yet another breakup when our daughter did the bravest thing she's ever done and left her husband. And then, October landed my husband in the hospital for several days with what we thought to be a stroke or TIA as he lost his memory. Like it was here one minute and, ZAP, gone the next. I thought I had lost him, too. 

Large heartbreaks with a thousand smaller ones wrapped up inside of each. Not to mention all the other things that go along with just living. Rough stuff. All things that can break one's heart. 

But in reading Annie's book, I discovered that I could either let 2016 be defined by these heartbreaks, or I could do as she has done and look for lovely and collect the moments that mattered. And what I have discovered is that lovely shows up as hope where there's despair; as faith where there's darkness; as love where there's hate; as joy where all else is crying. It shows up in siblings gathering around each other to laugh and support. As friends coming together in grief to encourage and cry. As prayers lifted to heaven -- with numerous tears. As meals given, as meals received and as meals shared. Lovely is found when you are seen; when I am seen. 

One of my journal entries I came across read, "We cannot control our circumstances, but we can control our responses." And so as the year draws to a close, I have chosen the latter, for, indeed, there is so much lovely to be seen. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift. For Lovely.

Just an ordinary moment...