I know the thing that makes me the worst version of myself.
Lack of sleep. Simple.
It’s so hard to believe the truth, to stay positive and peaceful, and to rise above our circumstances when we are just plain tired. Am I right?
A wise woman once said to me, “Heather, sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do for yourself is take a nap.” Sometimes I wonder if depression in caregivers directly relates to lack of sleep.
I need a nap. One daughter successfully fought her virus, but the other vomited all over both beds and all the towels last night. I told my friend in the parking lot this morning that I’m on my last load of vomit laundry. I laughed. Inside I was crying.
She said that would make a great blog title: The Last Load of Vomit Laundry.
Sleeping remains my singular goal today (besides comforting, hydrating, and nourishing sick children). Living with flair means we recognize how sleep deprivation can keep us from living with flair.
Journal: What happens to you when you lose sleep?
When you drive into Colorado, you’ll soon discern the faint outline of the Rocky Mountains. It’s another source of the sublime: mountains so huge that you think you’re looking into the clouds instead of the white peaks of a mountain range.
First you feel small in the expanse of the Kansas praire. Then you feel diminished by the height of the Colorado moutains. Either horizon humbles you.
We are so very tiny in this great universe. And yet we know and are known by God. It’s a wonder that keeps me living with flair. It’s a sublime truth I don’t want to forget for a single day of my life.
We finally set up our little apartment here in Colorado. My husband will take classes, and I’ll be writing and teaching others how to write with flair. With these huge mountains offering a great hug every morning, I can hardly forget the presence and power available to me.
Journal: Do you ever feel humbled by something in nature?
I climbed into a giant hamster wheel with my children today.
Then I put my hands into a tank of fish to let them eat the dead skin off of my fingers. I learn this constitutes a spa treatment in some salons.
It tickled and was very strange indeed.
Then I went back to the hamster wheel to take funny pictures of my husband.
We were visiting the City Museum in St. Louis on our way to Colorado.
I decided (somewhere between the 11-story slide and the airplane you reach by climbing through a wire tunnel) to embrace some whimsy.
So when my youngest asked me to get into the hamster wheel, I didn’t hesitate. And when my oldest told me I could get a manicure by fish, I didn’t hesitate. I can honestly say that I accomplished two spontaneous and whimsical feats today. I remembered learning the “Beat It” moves in my kitchen; this felt like that.
What a day! How was yours?
Journal: When I’m asked to do the next spontaneous and whimsical thing, will I hesitate?
Last night I watch a woman, Sally Smith, standing in the rubble of her mother’s home in Joplin. She turns to Anderson Cooper and says, “You can’t fall apart over things like this.”
I burst into tears. Can you imagine your whole life crumbling around you and saying that? What does she know that I don’t? Sally Smith is firm in her resolve, smiling. She picks up the pieces of dolls, trying to identify fragments. Anderson asks her where you even start to build your life again after a tornado like this.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do, but it will work out. It will.”
Anderson notices her t-shirt, and she says, “Life is good. God does not give us anything we can’t handle. I know His hand is in it; I’ve seen too many things. We’ll be fine. Saying good-bye to things is hard. . .
Anderson says, “You’re about the most optimistic person I’ve met in a long time.”
That’s when she says, “You cannot fall apart over things like this.”
Sally Smith has the faith, strength, and courage of a woman who lives with flair. I just love her. Will I ever be the kind of woman who can look in the face of disaster and proclaim the kind of truth that she can?
Journal: When I’m complaining about any disappointment today, I’m going to remember Sally Smith in the rubble. Where can you say, “You cannot fall apart over things like this”?
Our morning routine includes espionage. We have to scour the backyard for secret information.
Even in our bare feet, we tiptoe across the morning dew to snoop on the strawberries.
Then, we plunge inside the winterberry bush to spy on the Northern Cardinal who built a nest there this past week.
It doesn’t stop there. “We have to check on the beans! We have to check on the beets!” And we whisper because this is a garden reconnaissance mission, and I haven’t even poured my coffee yet.
That’s what we do now. After school, we’ll investigate to see if the eggs have hatched at the vernal pond.
I’m right there with them. Living with flair means I’m spying on Spring. We quiet ourselves, walk gingerly, and peer into secret processes. You don’t outgrow this kind of wonder.
Journal: How can I find some wonder outside today?
My one-eyed cat, Jack, has taken another important step.
Remember how wounded and sick Jack was? How unattractive and miserable? We brought him home and gave him all the love we could. He’d lost his ability to purr. He couldn’t even meow. His whole kitty identity seemed withered and dying.
Then one day, he found his purr again, deep and rich and wild. We were petting him, and we heard the slow chug, like some distant train coming from a far-off country. He’s purring! Then, nearly a year into his recovery, he stood in the kitchen, proud and tall, and let out his first meow. That kitty self was back.
|The One-Eyed Cat Serves
It gets even better. Yesterday, I walk into my bedroom, and I see the once lonely and wounded kitty in a warm embrace. He’s holding another cat. He’s holding her still and bathing her face and the back of her ears! As I watch this display, I realize that Jack’s journey has reached yet another point of healing.
I snap a picture of him and think of what it means to care for somebody. The once-wounded cat is now serving others.
Living with flair means that we don’t stay wounded. We press on, find ourselves again, and discover where we might serve. Even if you’ve had a loss that changes how you see everything (and limits you), there’s hope towards a journey of healing-turned-ministry. Maybe that’s the best kind. Maybe Jack is particularly good at caring for other cats because he’s come back from the worst.
|The One-Eyed Cat and His Friend
Maybe I’m particularly good at helping folks live with flair because I lived without it for so long. How could I not offer an embrace, hold you still for a moment, and speak out whatever words might help make today meaningful?