Learning the unforced rhythms of grace

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Expectations of a Long Weekend

Anxiety and stress live in the space between what we think should happen and what is really happening.

Let me explain . . . 

The May long weekend is here. Stores are displaying new lawnchairs, colorful dishes for parties, camping supplies and propane for the bbq. The green light has been given for gardening and the sunshine is calling us to be outside and start reclaiming this frozen earth into something beautiful. Gas prices go up as RV's line up to fill  for an excursion out to the lake or mountains. Safeway features a deal on ketchup, mustard and relish right next to the chips, hotdog buns and marshmallows. Everything leads to this long weekend, including expectations, realistic or not, of what should happen.

Let me suggest another perspective. Having lived with illness and pain for most of my adult life, I've had to let go of expectations many times and have been pleasantly surprised!

Me trying to 'look' sick for the camera.

Me trying to 'look' sick for the camera.

I remember being on bedrest while I was pregnant with our first son, Zac, and wanting to prepare the nursery for him. I had gone into early labor at 7 months and needed to stay relatively still until he was born. I couldn't do anything to prepare.

So, my husband got to work in the nursery room and painted a cityscape all around the walls with a large tree that spanned up one corner of the wall and spread across the ceiling. It was the coolest room I'd ever seen. I could never have done something like that.

nurserywall2.jpg

When the kids were about 3 and 4 1/2, and my Endometriosis was getting worse, pain would hit suddenly and I'd have to lay down on the couch for a few hours until it diminished. The guys wanted lunch and I couldn't do it.  I asked them if they thought they could make lunch themselves. They said yes, and of course, being the little men that they were asked, "Can we use knives?" I told them, "only a butter knife".

Nathan 3, Zac 4 1/2

Nathan 3, Zac 4 1/2

They were pumped. They got very busy in the kitchen and came back with three little bowls of lunch for them and for me. It was sliced carrots and chocolate chips. The best lunch ever!

I've been surprized and blessed so many times by what happens when my expectations are thwarted. It's easy to have a narrow, short-sighted view and there is so much more that could be part of the picture. 

So I encourage you, this long weekend, to hold your plans and ideas loosely. Be open to surprizes. Be open to seeing the strengths in people around you. Admit your limits. Admit your budget. Admit your desire to nap or clean the garage instead of taking an epic trip to the mountains. Or, go to the mountains! There is no right or wrong way here, but it is important to stay attentive to your heart and mind and be realistic with what is actually going on in our lives, the needs around us and our own needs too. Keep anxiety away by taking a few minutes to assess that space between your expectations and your reality. 

Have a great long weekend, whatever it looks like!