The really wonderful moments of joy in this world are not moments of self-satisfaction, but self-forgetfulness.
John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life
Seven years ago.
I’m on I-5 heading toward home. I see a billboard with an image of a couple relaxing in lounge chairs on a sandy beach with turquoise water and palm trees in the background. The words,The Good Life, are scrawled across it.
I think of the times we’ve been to a place like that; it is, indeed, a slice of good life. But if that’s the good life what does it say about the rest? The not-so-good life? The less-than-perfect life? The covetous-not-content life? The image, and the message, bothers me.
Later, sequestered upstairs in my woman cave, I tap out a few lines about my good life: chopping veggies for dinner, folding laundry, sharing a laugh with my husband, in my office preparing for a meeting, in my home office working on my book, hugging my grandchildren, crying tears of frustration, sitting with my neck massager tying to ease the pain in my shoulders.
Right here. Right now.
Stress, my constant companion and sleep stealer, tries to rob me of it, but I know the beautiful tapestry of a life well lived is crafted with ordinary God-glorifying moments.
I buy a little four-by-four foot raised bed garden, throw some seeds in the ground, and wait to see what might come up.
I feel a restlessness and a longing—not for sitting on a beach living the world’s definition of the good life, but for routine and ordinary time. Even now, retired with my time largely my own, I feel the lure of busy. I don’t want to be, but too often I am.
What is it about myself, and about this world, that I keep forgetting that being trumps doing? Why do I so easily lose sight of the fact that my deepest fulfillment is never found in the world’s definition of the good life?
Why do I, too often, seek significance and purpose out there when it’s right here, in this moment, with my God-given abilities flowing in ordinary time?
I go to the Lover of my soul, where I find rest and I remember: the gift is not in pursuing the world’s definition of the good life, it is in pursuing the Creator. Simple.
I set an intention, once again, to “decide what [my] highest priorities are and have the courage—pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically, to say “no” to other things.” (Stephen Covey)
I throw some more seeds in the ground, tend my garden, and wait with anticipation to see what will come up.
And it is well.