Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Beauty at Son Jardin

I'm sitting in a rental car outside the home my great-grandmother has lived in her entire life.

I'm sitting outside in the car, not because she isn't here, but because I'm charging my cell phone.

And to be perfectly honest, I'd rather let it die.

I sat in the living room with both my grandmother and my great mother this afternoon. 

Just sitting. No tv. Not much talking. 

Just sitting. 

Watching the birds. A little napping (to catch up from jet lag). 

Comfortable silence amidst random moments of laughter.

Three of five generations just existing peacefully in the same space.

When I woke up from my nap, I walked into the kitchen to grab a snack. 

And I just stood there. Looking out the window.

The simplistic and intense beauty of this moment hit me. It almost completely overwhelmed me. Totally surrounded me in a blanket of warmth and security and peace.

Life feels simpler here at Son Jardin. And I like it. A lot.

It is quiet. One can think. And from the tone of this post, one can also feel inspired to write.

I don't know about all of you, but technology sometimes puts me a little on edge. 

Don't get me wrong, my iPhone is what I'm using to write this post, as well as checking in to my flights and taking photos. 

But the rapid pace that it requires me to operate at can be completely and overwhelmingly exhausting.

So as I sat with two of the most incredible women I know this afternoon, it hit me again. That two entire generations did amazing things and lived their lives in incredible ways, all without the modern technology I have become accustomed to using on a daily basis.

So, I challenge myself today. I challenge myself to remember to breath. 

To be okay with complete silence. To enjoy the company of my own thoughts. 

To stop checking FB every ten minutes just because I don't want to engage. 

To complete submerge myself in the experience, instead of thinking which filter to use on my photos. 

I will still use technology, for I think it is one of the most amazing platforms we have as a society to connect and socialize. 

However, I find it equally important to be completely comfortable with the falling leaves and a good book as my companion. 

If this is my greatest lesson on this adventure, then I pray I learn and live it well.

"I have never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude." - Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Love Project 2014: Comparison vs Compassion

Today I heard one of the most compelling messages I have heard in a very long time.

A message that both inspired me and filled me with conviction. At the exact same moment.

Two words. Two scenarios.

Each similar, but oh, so very different.

Scene One: A mother opens the car door for her small child. The child gets out of the car, and the mother closes the door. Right as the mother slams the car door shut, the child lets out a blood curdling scream. Their hand is stuck in the door. The mother drops everything in her hands, fumbling for the keys to unlock the door. She unlocks the door, freeing her child's hand. Then she gathers her child into her arms, comforting and soothing the damage done by the car door.

Compassion: seeing a need and meeting it 

Scene Two: A mother opens the car door for her small child. The child gets out of the car, and the mother closes the door. Right as the mother slams the car door shut, the child lets out a blood curdling scream. Their hand is stuck in the door. The mother stops, looks down at her hands and says to herself, "Wow.... I am so thankful for my two working, healthy, non-damaged hands." She takes one last look at the child, who is writhing in pain and sobbing uncontrollably, and walks away.

Comparison: seeing a need and being thankful it isn't yours

Now, for those of us with common sense, this second scenario is wrong on so many levels. 

What mother would do that to her child? 

Who could see someone in such agony and not do something about it? 

But, is that not what we often do when we see someone in need? 

We sit back, breath a sigh of relief and say, "Man, I'm glad that's not me."

Such a mind blowing and powerful thought!

Am I truly showing someone compassion, or is it merely a situational comparison?

Maybe, instead of focusing on how much better I have it than other people, I can get out there and do something to change their situation.

Instead of talking about loving people, I just go out and do it. And by love I mean act.

And as terrifying as the reality of that statement is, it also lights a fire in my soul.

Because to quote one of my favorite authors, "love does."

To add to that? So does compassion.

Two words. So similar, yet so different.

Which one will you choose today?

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Love Project 2014: Those Who Love

Today, I heard the story of how Jesus totally got a hold of someone's life and changed them. For good.

Tonight, I sat through a memorial service that honored a woman of devoted and fervent prayer. Someone who I was beyond blessed to know and have been prayed over.

I also stood and spoke with two people who changed my life probably more than they will ever know.

You know, we all go through pretty intense seasons in our lives. Sometimes those seasons seem hopeless, lonely and incredibly bleak.

For me, those days were primarily during high school, shortly after my dad died.

And while those days were challenging and painful, I was never left desolate or abandoned. Even if it felt like it.

Jesus blew my mind and my expectations out of the water and dropped a family into my life that I now consider to be my own.

I look back on those lonely years, and can honestly say that my love bank was constantly having deposits made by that family.

Those deposits propelled me through and kept me going.

Those who love us in our darkest hours are those who can also celebrate with us through our greatest joys.

Whose love bank are you filling up today?

There are those who talk about it, there are those who hope for it, and then, there are just those who do something about it.

Those who love.