Let's All Be Brave
At work yesterday, I was spending a good amount of time washing dishes. And by good amount of time, I'm talking about an hour or more. I work part-time at a pie shop and there's always plenty of washing to be done. I'm really weird and I actually enjoy washing dishes. It's a good mindless task that allows my mind to wander to other things. And it's a good task where you can see the progress you are making. I like seeing dirty things get clean. I like seeing the dish drainer racks get full. I don't even mind when more dishes get placed in the pile to clean. I just keep up the steady pace and eventually they get done. It feels nice to accomplish things.
Yesterday I was washing more dishes and got to a cupcake pan. There's always this layer of oil that builds up on the surface and I'm always intentional to get to every little cup and to make sure I don't miss any spots. Somehow I got to thinking about the day prior I was watching another woman that I work with, wash dishes as I was working on another task. I don't know why necessarily, but I caught myself watching her in the moment. She had this engagement to her task that I was drawn to. Her focus was sharp and there was this dedication to what she was doing in the moment. I don't know why, but the moment felt important to me. There was a lesson to be learned here. In the slow parts of days, I've seen her spend time cleaning small details throughout the kitchen. One day, she scrubbed layers and layers of cooked-on grease coated on the outside of an old pan. I watched as the brown tinges washed away to reveal like-new silver underneath. Another day she pulled out the big deep freezer to sweep carefully behind it. She uncovered several lost "treasures" of lids and random kitchen bits that had fallen behind it.
Each task was approached in the same manner. It had her attention and you could feel the importance even in the seemingly small things. It made me want a part of what she had. It forced me to rethink what I was doing and how I was doing it. Do I approach my work in the same manner? Did I have the same dedication to each task? The same commitment and feeling of worth? I felt the weight of the joy that comes in doing each part of my life by living fully in each moment. The ability to be faithful in each task my hands find to do. The antidote to feelings of discontent and unease. This willingness to seize each moment as an opportunity to be fully engaged in the details of life. An opening of my eyes to the reality of the work I'm doing. As a good friend of mine so wonderfully puts it, "I get to wake up each day and be faithful."
I don't always see it that way. Some days I do. Other days I wake up and feel the weight of what it means to try and survive the day. And there's a place for both types. Sometimes survival is enough. Other times there's grace to fight for joy. And still other days, the wonder and delight of a day comes as a gift.
I opened up my email a few days ago and saw an email from an online book study I had signed up to do months ago. I bought the book and was excited to read it. It arrived in the mail, I read the first chapter and threw it in my purse to carry around and read as the opportunity arose.
The week of the first video my brother was in his car accident. And since then my life has been a constant flurry of activity. Balancing a new dating relationship, settling into two part-time job schedules with constant changes, keeping up with counseling homework, and just living everyday life. Oh and maintaining a house with a dysfunctional sewer and no heat.
I haven't watched a single video in the series. I think I've managed to read six chapters in segments as I waited in the parent line on Monday & Tuesday afternoons to pick up a highschooler from school. The email mentioned that the study was over. I clicked on the link and this line felt written FOR ME:
For those of you who’ve had the desire to join us, but life has dragged you in a thousand other directions–you’ve showed a picture of brave that says my heart is with you, but my reality means now is not the best time.I really did have every intention of keeping up with this book study. But you know what? It just didn't work out. I know that I'll get around to finishing the book. I intend on going back through to watch the videos. I felt my heart being tugged to this book. Annie Downs, for real, feels like my type of girl. Man, and Let's All Be Brave feels like the type of book my life needs in this season. And lines like this just draw me in,
"I believe in the me God made and in the me God can make. I believe he made me on purpose and didn't make any mistakes when it came to my creation. I believe he is doing a good work in me, and in you. And that though I am flawed, God is loving me and refining me and reminding me that God in me is where I can place my trust.
"And that is the place where I find my courage."
-Annie Downs, Let's All Be Brave: Living Life with Everything You Have
Wow. Just wow.
So as of now, I don't yet have a response to this book. I can't yet talk about the lessons I've learned. Instead I'm soaking in the grace of living my life where I'm at. One lesson I have learned is that things don't usually work out the way I expect. And usually when I get there, I'm so glad that they haven't.
Tonight I'm choosing to see the bravery in living my life where it's at. I'm choosing to offer myself grace for not being where I want to be. I'm allowing myself to see the bravery to be found in being faithful with the small tasks in front of me. There is an importance and worth to my life now. And I'm choosing to be okay with it. I think there's bravery in that.