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Friday, December 31, 2010

Laughing at the days to come...

If you read this blog with any regularity you know I'm always wanting more in this life...searching for deeper purpose and meaning...longing for more intimacy in relationships...striving to be everything God intends me to be.
Well, I'm not a New Years Resolutions kinda gal. Never have been and really don't know why. I just know I'm not. But when my friend
Jennifer wrote about a "word for the year" my interest was sparked. Coming up with a single word for the year doesn't feel like a resolution to me but a focused call to more. Yeah, a focused call to more...I want that.
Thinking, praying, reading and trying to come up with the right word here are a few of the ideas traversed:


Reading through the book of Proverbs the other day, I inevitably came to the 31st chapter. The last part of the chapter is about "The Woman of Nobel Character". If you're not familiar with it, click
here. Sometimes I read about this chick and I'm in awe. Sometimes envious. Sometimes convicted. But most of the time she completely annoys me. I mean, what's she doing making the rest of us look bad? She basically never sleeps, keeps a perfect home, is an amazing friend, savvy business woman and wise mother. Oh please. So, does the writer really have a wife like this? Maybe he combined all his different wives best traits and came up with this picture? Or was he observing someone elses spouse? Perhaps he's writing to one of his wives for some sort of ancient Mother's Day?

When I finally got over my annoyance with Little Miss. Perfect Proverbs, I started truly rereading the passage with an open mind. The phrase "she laughs at the days to come" struck me. Since turning 40 I don't laugh at all about the future. I worry about the days to come...that our society will collapse, that we'll be broke, that something will happen to my kids, that I'll experience pain unimaginable, that I'll have to work until I'm 80, that we as Christians will face growing persecution.

Why can she-this mythical, perfect, supermom/wife- laugh at the coming days and I cringe?
Because she won't lose her outward beauty? A few phrases later the writer says "charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; no, wrinkles will crop up and everything else will drop down and she will, like the rest of us, succumb to the effects of gravity.
So why can she laugh?
Financial security? Maybe she's got enough in her 401K's to relax and travel in her old age?
The fact that both her husband and children love and respect her?
Does she throw her head back in abandon because she doesn't care what anyone else thinks anymore--is she an early version of a Red Hat--it says she's wearing purple.

The only indication of why she can laugh at the days to come* is implied in the phrase immediately prior: she's clothed with strength and dignity.

physical power: the physical power to carry out demanding tasks
emotional toughness: the necessary qualities required to deal with stressful or painful situations source of support: a source of strength or support

dig·ni·ty [ dígnətee ]
self-respect: a proper sense of pride and self-respect
seriousness in behavior: seriousness, respectfulness, or formality in some body's behavior and bearing
worthiness: the condition of being worthy of respect, esteem, or honor

I know a lot of women who are clothed with strength and dignity as defined above but not all of them laugh at the days to come. Upon reflection, the ones who seem to face the future with a smile have two common denominators: they've accepted their age(or aging) and they're not worried about physical provision for the future.

That touches on something tough for me, something I have a hard time admitting and harder time writing. I feel so shallow. But somehow as I look at the future my fears boil down to aging and money. It's ridiculous, really. And I know it. All the money or physical vigor in the world doesn't ultimately lead to security. Just like more friends doesn't mean less loneliness.
When I dig a little deeper and get honest with myself, it's not really about looks and money, but security which in turn, for me, points to a serious lack of trust.

God's been with me before, but somehow I fear He won't be with me later or He'll be with me, but what He leads me through will be too much.

Ok, I'm starting to ramble.

Sorry. I guess I'm still sorting out more than I thought.

Back to the word for the year thing. I heard someone described once as being curious but not adventurous. That's an apt phrase for me, I believe. Curious? Yes. Adventurous, risk-taker? Ummm, not so much.

So, I think my word of the year will be "yes". To answer in the affirmative to whatever comes my way this year. To not just survive or put up with life, but embrace whatever Providence places in my path... without trust... in hopes that a smile or even a laugh might come along with it.

*The Message: "she faces each day with a smile."
New Living Translation: "she laughs without fear of the future."

artwork: Calvin & Hobbes by Bill Waterson

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