Just Lookin’

I guess I do a lot of people watching. Not “stalker” level; mostly out of curiosity. I watch people hold the door for others, offer a kind smile, or give up a seat for someone who needs it more. I watch young children interact with each other without a care in the world. I watch best friends huddle close together to share a private conversation. I watch the husband and wife share an exhausted smile over the top of their screaming toddler’s head. I watch the elderly gentleman pull out the chair for his wife of so many years.

These are the touching moments. They bring tears to my eyes and a smile to my face. These are the moments that make life worth living.

Unfortunately, I also observe the darker side, the sights that bring tears to my eyes for other reasons. I see the high schoolers making fun of the new girl. I see the awkward conversation of two people who were once incredibly close, but no longer consider themselves friends. I see the wife frantically apologizing for her toddler’s public tantrum as her husband glares at her and then quickly changes his expression to a smile before (he thinks) anyone notices. I see the elderly man pulling out the chair for his wife of so many years, but has no idea who or where she is at that moment.

In life, there are moments of heartbreak and moments of pure joy. Watching the love between two people – regardless of the kind of relationship at play (parent-child, siblings, spouses, friends) – is one of the most beautiful things for me to watch. I get to witness God’s glory at work in those moments.

But what about the darker moments? Those moments that break our hearts? Those are the difficult moments, because any good we see is because we had to dig deeper to recognize the joy. Even then, diving deep doesn’t always work.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking over the past week or so. I’ve been thinking about the moments of pain and joy in my life. Marriage, divorce, births of my children, loss of loved ones, gaining new friends, cross-country moves. So much has happened, but I am grateful for all of it. That wasn’t always the case (and it may still depend on the day), but I know that there is a plan. I may not understand the plan, but I know it’s there. I’m not supposed to understand what’s in store.

What I do know is:

  • I am loved. Always have been, always will be, regardless of the way people on earth may feel.
  • I have a purpose. I was created for a reason to be who I am.
  • I am blessed. I have more than I ever need.
  • I am grateful. I have grown into someone that I truly like.
  • I am ready. I am ready for whatever the future holds for me.
  • It’s not about me. It’s about building the Kingdom and reaching the lost.
  • A joyous heart is so important. We may have to look deeper to find the joy, but it is there. Always.
  • I’m not done. I don’t know what the future holds, but I am certain that I’m an active participant rather than just a passive bystander.
  • Fear can be overcome. Fear doesn’t have to stop any of us. We must push beyond our comfort zones because that is the only way we will grow.