The ugly beautiful


The ugly beautiful.  My life is full of it right now.

This is what Ann Voskamp uses to describe the things that we shouldn’t love, that the world would think we’re crazy for finding joy in and being thankful for.  I’m struggling.

So much so that I’m finding it hard to keep plugging through the book.

As of tomorrow morning, I have four weeks left before I have to go back South and life goes back to reality.  Busy, hurried, frustratingly frantic reality.  Not that I’m not busy at Camp, but it’s a different kind of busy and I’m surrounded by people that I only get to see once a year, and whom I love dearly.  When it all ends… in a mere 5 weeks… I go back to life.  Back to a job that while incredibly rewarding some days, is also incredibly exasperating when it’s not.  Can I find a balance here?  I don’t know, I haven’t been able to so far.

Lord help me, I can’t do that one alone.  Not another year on my own.

But even though 4 weeks from now will be sad as I plunge back into reality, I also dive back into excitement, into new things.  Beautiful things.  A new house.  A home.  Finally… a home.  My home.  One I don’t have to share with loud or smoky neighbours.  An elevator-less home.  And a classroom!  No cart.  No forgetting things in my office.  No sharing my office space with everyone else in the school.  Excitement.  Is this the ugly beautiful?  Finding joy in things that would otherwise be overshadowed by the things I don’t like?  Obviously I’m not forgetting about my house, and how excited I am for that.  I got art yesterday!  And I can’t wait to hang it up!  I bought a futon today, and a new TV!  I feel so grown up.

And yet so childish at the same time.

So foolish to think I can be truly happy when things crumble around me.  But I know it’s true.  It’s out there.  It’s elusive but it’s there.  I’ve seen it in the lives of others.  I’ve seen this overflowing joy in my Mother.  I’ve seen it in a couple friends.  I’ve seen it in a man I admire greatly, a Pastor I’ve known for 13 years, who’s not had an easy year to use the biggest understatement of the century.  His life is a living example of finding joy in awful, terrible things.  Why can’t mine be the same way?  What do I have to lose?  Why do I run from what I know could be so great?  I feel like I’m close.  And then I pull back.  What am I afraid of?

At any rate, it’s midnight and I ramble past midnight, there must be a switch that flips when the clock chimes the new day.  So to save any readers who’ve made it this far from a downhill spiral of nonsensical silliness, here is my list.

28. Warm breezes blowing clothes dry on the line.

29. Trading My Sorrows – “Though the sorrow may last through the night, His joy comes with the morning”I love this song, it reminds me of high school… well, of the numerous, numerous times I sang it in high school.  I love the translation in The Message of the verse this song was taken from.

4-5 All you saints! Sing your hearts out to God!
Thank him to his face!
He gets angry once in a while, but across
a lifetime there is only love.
The nights of crying your eyes out
give way to days of laughter.

Psalm 30:4-5 (The Message)

30. Long, deep, heartfelt, honest chats with trusted friends.  The ability to hash out tough decisions.

31. Amazing mentors not afraid to be real and honest and ask tough questions, even when you hardly see them.

32.  Fudge.

33.  Raspberry Green Tea Ginger Ale.  How it bubbles and soothes.

34.  Seeing the Milky Way in a clear night sky.  How it never gets old.  How a camera does it no justice.  Examples of His majesty.

35.  Memory skills that let us retrace our steps and find what was lost.

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