The Significance of the Last Decade

18921682_10154974216741773_4362084453022332902_nI received a post on my FB timeline from a former professor asking, “What have you done for the last decade?” We had had previous discussions about how I wasn’t using FB for theological or political discussions. He had said that it was a platform I should use to further the cause of educating people about Christ and the church. So when he posted that, I could hear the disappointment in his question, the accusation that I wasn’t doing enough. And for a couple of days, I admit I felt discouraged, depressed, meaningless, insignificant. Like life has passed me by and I’ll go to my grave unremembered and of no great consequence.

Then I got angry.

What have I done for the last decade? I lost myself for a while and then I found myself. I re-discovered God’s love when I walked away from evangelicalism. I made friends who are the most important people in my life. I’ve lost a few friends because of drifting apart and I’ve lost a few to death. I realized only after she died how much I love and need my mother.

I fought a crumbling marriage and had the reward of renewed love and commitment. It reminds me that relationships have ups and downs and ins and outs and all arounds, and if you stick around until the end of the ride, it’ll be worth it.

I watched my much loved daughter find love and get married. I grieved when she lost her first baby and found one of my greatest loves when she had another. I’ve watched my son grow and become more independent. I was there when he began having “episodes,” and spent a week in the hospital to determine if he had epilepsy.

I discovered a love of bike riding, which opened my eyes to a world of natural beauty. The beauty combined with working muscles has invigorated more than my physical body. It has been my mental health, my freedom, my joy.

I’ve written some books and some pieces that people have found meaningful and maybe even helped them, too, re-discover God’s love. I started my own publishing company (Dead Key Publishing) and am helping people launch their dreams.

I have played music loud and have sung even louder. I have learned to play the bongos and I play best when I let my body move with the music. I have experienced concerts I will remember for the rest of my days.

I have struggled with depression and diabetes. I had some scary moments after my cat passed away where I didn’t care if I lived or died. I came out the other side. I care now.

What have I done for the last decade? Loved, lost, struggled, achieved, laughed, prayed, cried, walked, danced, screamed, rode. Most of all loved. With all I have. Nothing earthshaking possibly. Nothing of great consequence maybe. But the ripples of what I have done — what any of us do — will continue even after I’m gone.

What have I done for the last decade? I’ve learned not to let myself be defined by someone else’s expectations. And I’ve learned that no one, absolutely no one, is insignificant.

So … what have you done for the last decade?

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Dance!

IMG_8325I went to a local fair in Loveland on Saturday. It featured local brews, live music and food. My daughter was dancing as part of the SlapStep Studios group, so my husband, son, and I went to watch her. Becky’s husband, Justin, and their daughter, my oh-so-wonderful granddaughter Maddy, were there also.

After Becky’s dance part was over, we hung around, trying to decide what to do, where to go. I took Maddy out of her stroller and in an instant she was running toward the front of the fair where the stage was. Live music was going on, and she needed to be a part of it.

I followed, not just to keep her safe but because there’s nowhere else I’d rather be than trailing after this little girl who doesn’t know the meaning of the phrase “slow down.” Or maybe she knows, but she certainly never heeds it.

As soon as she got up front, she began dancing and clapping. Her “dancing” is kind of a mix of galloping and skipping, and she uses every bit of space she is given. Every now and then, she’d grab my hand and the two of us would gallop and skip to the live covers of Luke Bryant, Elvis Presley and Merle Haggard.

At one point, she walked over to a woman sitting in the front row. She held out her hand. She pointed to the “dance floor.” She held out her hand again. The woman took her hand and the two of them danced.

What a wonderful thing it is to dance with such abandon. Maddy didn’t care that she wasn’t dancing in a way that traditionalists would call dancing. No one else cared either. She didn’t care who was watching, although everyone was. For Maddy, there was nothing more than the music and the movement, and the huge, overwhelming desire to have people share in her joy.

I want to live with that kind of abandon. I want you to live with that kind of abandon.

There will be times when you fall. Don’t let it stop you. Get back up, wipe the tears away, maybe even get annoyed when your daddy tries to clean your scraped up knee because he’s slowing you down when all you want to do is DANCE.

Live with abandon. Drink fully. Laugh often. Dance. Invite others to share in your joy. Fall down. Get back up. And keep dancing.