First of all, for those of you who check my blog regularly, my apologies for not writing on Friday. I had not been feeling well, missed some work, and frankly, was not inspired to write. There was an internal struggle… do I write to write because I’m supposed to post on Fridays, or do I hold out for inspiration and write from my heart? I know my blog is not earth-shattering revelation, but I would rather keep it real and contend for those pieces of truth, joy or abundance that touch my heart. If it inspires me, then maybe it will inspire you as well. That’s what I would prefer to pass along to you.
So, I waited through the long, holiday weekend… keeping my ears and eyes open in the midst of a flurry of activities. As the weekend progressed, hurricane Gustav captured much of my heart, as I thought about the fate of so many of the same people that were impacted by Katrina. A favorite show of mine – Extreme Home Makeover- happened to be rebuilding in New Orleans on the show I was watching Sunday night. I knew it was a rerun, as they mentioned the 2 year anniversary of Katrina. We had just passed the 3rd anniversary.
Then, just yesterday, I heard it. One little sentence that has made me think ever since. It was the author of a book who simply stated, "I want a bigger, smaller life." Larger in love, with more peace and more joy. More room and more time to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. Smaller in stuff… fewer belongings that clutter our homes and garages and take up valuable energy and time. She said she is a better person when she has less on her plate. I’m willing to guess that would be true for all of us.
I loved that little nugget. I want a bigger, smaller life too. I can make choices to try and make that happen. My mind went back to the people of the Gulf Coast. In the midst of devastating storms, that choice is not theirs. Their worlds became much smaller, as they lost their homes and belongings. It is heart wrenching to watch. Yet, many that I’ve seen interviewed have been content to come away with their lives, their loved ones and their pets. In their words and their attitudes, I see much bigger people, with much better priorities.
This week I will see a dear friend that I haven’t seen in years. We were neighbors when I lived in California and she was my maid of honor at my wedding. She used to have a phrase (and probably still does) that guided her actions, especially when it came to giving. Her job, as she saw it, was simply to "get it where it needs to go." Whether it was money, food, clothing, or anything else, she would easily part with it as she looked at the bigger picture. She is generous, not only with her things, but with her heart. I learned that from her. As I look around my house and see way too much "stuff," I think about who can make better use of it. Ashby House, here in Salina gives clothing away to women and their children who need it. That’s where I prefer to donate my clothing. Hospice has an annual fundraiser in November and is able to put a much higher price tag on something than I would at a garage sale. Anything I donate to them, helps in ways far beyond how I can help as an individual. Our local Pregnancy Service Center is always asking for scrapbooks and supplies so that young mothers can record and remember. I tend to have excess when it comes to scrapbooking materials. Surely I can part with some it for them. I could go on and on. Perhaps as you’ve been reading, you’ve been thinking of your own local agencies that could benefit from some of your giving. The ironic thing is that even as we endeavor to make our stacks of stuff smaller, our lives become bigger in benefits. There is nothing like the feeling we get from giving.
I don’t know what a bigger, smaller life looks like to you. I know I love the phrase and that it resonates with my heart. Which parts do I want bigger and which parts do I want smaller? I will be thoughtful in getting things where they need to go, whether that be clothes or caring, scrapbooks or encouragement. And, I will endeavor to be the "bigger person" when I need to be. I’m sure that’s not all of it, but it’s a good start.
I will be out of town the rest of this week so I will not post again until Friday, September 12. In the meantime, I’ll be endeavoring to live a bigger, smaller life!