Thursday, July 23, 2015

Scaredy Cat

What are you afraid of? 

You know.. the kind of fear that makes your legs turn to jelly, drains the blood from your face, and sends your heart on a bungee jump to the pit of your stomach.

There are many scary things in the world. But only two make me lose all sense of logic, strength and composure. Just two things make me want to yell, "I want my mommy!"


The dentist.

I stared both of those fears in the face this week. Tuesday morning, I sat in the dentist's chair. Actually, I cowered in the dentist's chair. Yes, I know technology has improved and dentistry is not as painful as it was when I was 5 years old and some crotchety old-man dentist gave me a shot with a needle as big around as a garden hose. But it smells the same. And it sounds the same. And that creepy bluish light that shines in your eyes looks the same. 

And it's scary.

As my dentist and I discussed upcoming work on my teeth, I tried to explain my fear.  "I'm really only afraid of two things," I mumbled as those sharp pokey-things probed my teeth. "You... and lightning. And, sometimes I think I'd rather encounter lightning!"

Probably shouldn't have said that. 

Because just a few short hours later, while taking a lazy tube ride down Coldwater Creek in the beautiful woods of northwest Florida, one of those late afternoon thunderstorms came out of nowhere. The rain was so heavy and hard I could hardly see the other tube riders. The sky turned dark with the only real light coming from... you guessed it... huge bolts of lightning going "snap, crackle, pop" all around us, followed by the biggest, meanest crashes of thunder I have ever heard. 

We had nowhere to go, nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. It was impossible to get out of the creek at this juncture. We had no choice but to stay in the water, completely unprotected, and ferociously paddle our way back to the camp. And so we did. 

I yelled every time a bolt of lightning flashed and sometimes those bolts were so close I could feel the hair stand up on the back of my neck. I prayed. I prayed hard. And loudly. I sang "Jesus loves me, this I know..." over and over and over again. And, He must. Because after 15 minutes of sheer terror, we rounded a bend and realized we were back at the camp. 

Yes, there are a lot of scary things in the world. Many of them we can protect against. When you are on the water... no, when you are IN the water with no way out... and lightning is hitting all around you, there is no protection. Just sheer force of will to try and paddle your way out of the danger... and in my case, a strong faith that says "I don't want to die, but if I do... please make my trip to Heaven quick and painless!" 

And that's the way I hope my dental appointment goes next week.. 

Quick. And painless. 

But even if it doesn't, I'll paddle my way through it. And I'll remind myself that I'll take the pain of needles and the scary sound of a dentist drill over the snap, crackle, pop of lightning any day!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Christmas Every Day

It's July. It's hot. It's muggy. It's tempting to start every day with a case of the mid-summer slumps. But instead, I start every day in a December state of mind. Specifically, I start every day with Christmas on my mind. That's because I drink my coffee out of a Christmas cup every single day. 

I began doing this 3 Christmases ago when a beautiful friend gifted me with a holiday china coffee cup. I used the cup every day that season to remind me of her. As I poured the coffee, Sara's elegant face came to mind and I gave thanks for the gift of her friendship.

For many reasons, it was important that Christmas for me to remember all the gifts I'd been given in my life. Not the ones under the tree wrapped in shiny boxes... but the ones that were walking around in my life and in my mind.The people, the experiences, and the memories.The gift of time, marked off by each sunrise.

And so, after the New Year had come and gone, I just kept pouring my morning coffee into that Christmas cup. Each day from then until now, that cup has reminded me that no matter what I wake up to each morning... I wake. Each day is a gift. And just like the snowflakes on my Christmas cup, no two gifts of a day are the same. 

Sometimes the gift of the new day is spectacular.. like the banana seat bike I got when I was 10. Sometimes the gift of the new day is ordinary... like the package of underwear I got when I was 10. Sometimes the gift of the new day carries with it some pain... like the hot-pink shoes I got when I was 10 (they were too small and they hurt!) It doesn't matter. Each day is a gift. A wonderful, no-exchanges, no-returns gift.

Gifts don't do you any good if you don't unwrap them, use them, play with them, read them, or enjoy them. Gifts that aren't used just sit there and grow old, get dusty, and take up space. They serve as reminders that we are too busy, too tired, too scared, too angry, too worried, too whatever... to enjoy them.   

If you are reading this, you woke up this morning. You got a gift. What will you do with it? Use it? Or, lose it?

I think I'll start unwrapping my gift by having a cup of coffee. In a cup that reminds me to try and put a little Christmas into every day.