Thursday, October 30, 2014

Walking in My Own Steps

            If you think you’re read the following column before, you may be right. Although I wrote it a while back, it’s been stuck in my head for the past few days, especially when I sit and begin to write about something else. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I should submit it again, and yes, I have thought that maybe I’m the person who needs to revisit this lesson. Anyway, here it is:
Growing up with two sisters had many advantages. Over the years, Kay, Ann, and I have shared numerous things including rooms, secrets, advice and clothes. It was great having someone to talk to and truthfully answer the question, “How do I look?”
I also enjoyed going into their closets and emerging with a whole new outfit. We even invaded my mom’s closet and proudly wore her things, too. But we most often wore each other’s shoes. The fact that we didn’t wear the same size never really bothered us. We were just happy to have such a variety of footwear. Life was pretty smooth until the day my Dad discovered we had been swapping shoes.
            “You’re not supposed to wear other people’s shoes. You’re just going to ruin your feet. Other shoes don’t fit right and you won’t be able to walk,” he said.
            “But Daddy,” we argued, “We’re saving you money. You won’t have to buy as many pairs if we just share.”
            “I don’t care,” he insisted. “I’ll buy all of you as many pairs of shoes as you want.  Just wear your own shoes.”
            I wish that I could remember if we stopped sharing shoes after that, but even as I’m typing this, I’m reminded that we still occasionally wear each other’s boots. (Clothes, too.) Sorry, Dad. But the older I get, the more I realize how wise my parents are. It does feel strange to wear someone else’s shoes. Even if they are the same size, they don’t fit as well as your own shoes fit. And think of how awkward little girls walk when they try to wear their mother’s high heels. Wearing your own shoes just feels better.
            The same is true when we try to be like someone else and attempt to walk in their steps. Have you ever thought that your life would be better if you just had your brother-in-law’s job, or your co-worker’s family, or your neighbor’s house? I think that if we were somehow allowed a minute of someone else’s life it would be as awkward as walking in someone else’s shoes. We’d probably wobble like a little girl in high heels, or trip like a little boy in his Dad’s boots. 
God often reminds me of Psalm 37:23, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.”  Not only does this give me peace about my future, it also encourages me to walk in the steps that my Father has laid out for me. My steps fit me. When I walk in my God-ordained steps I can walk confidently and securely. But I’ve noticed that if I try to walk outside of what God has called me to do, I wobble and I trip until I return to the steps that line my own path of life.
            May contentment, grace, and joy abound as we flow in God’s will for our lives.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Sweet Distractions

     This is not the column I intended to submit. It was supposed to be about cursive writing. Granted, first you would have had to get over the irony of me typing a column about the benefits of cursive writing, but after that I think it would have been an interesting topic. Y’all, I had research and everything. Then life happened.
     I was asked to watch my granddaughter Olivia and thought, “Olivia entertains herself. I can type while she plays.”  Ha!
     Whenever the two baby strollers Olivia insisted on using got stuck, she screamed. An ear-splitting, bolting from my chair, is there blood? sound I didn’t think possible from the sweet looking one-year-old who wore an “I love my papa” shirt. As soon as I helped her, she would smile and continue on her way until another bump in her road. Smile. Shriek. Smile. Screech.
     I longingly looked at my chair by the fireplace and thought, “Only a couple of hours ago, I sat there to read, pray and write in my journal while I sipped a cup of hot coffee. It seems so long ago.”
     When Olivia rubbed her eyes, I rocked her to the nap that took mere seconds for her to find and gently placed her down where she slept for almost an hour. When she stirred I ran to pick her up and rocked her for almost another hour during which I may or may not have dozed off.
     The next day I was asked to watch my other granddaughter Adeline and bring her to get a flu shot. “I can type while she plays,” I naively thought for the second consecutive day.
     I spent the morning reassuring Adeline that yes, I would bring her to her sitter, and yes, she would see her sitter soon. In the meantime, she abandoned her fruit to eat my yogurt, placed strips of scotch tape all over the house like it was her job, and didn’t stop talking.
     “I go outside,” she said.
     “I’m trying to write a column.”
     “I go outside,” she repeated, so we went outside to water plants and write with chalk on the patio.
     “That’s okay,” I thought. “I will still have time after her flu shot to read through the research on cursive writing and complete the column.”
     As soon as I dropped Adeline off at her beloved sitter, I sat at my desk and heard a key in the lock of the front door. Victoria, my college sophomore, had come home for a visit.
     “We can go to lunch as soon as I finish my column.” I offered.
     “I’ll go to the gym while you do that,” she said.
     “Trying to make me feel guilty about not going to the gym since last week?”
     “Not at all,” she said. “I just hate the sound of you typing.”
     Another point in favor of cursive writing - it’s quiet.
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