Life can get serious. A wise friend told me years ago.."You are a burden bearer - you will need to find places to play, to live joyfully". Her words echo to me now and then when life gets heavy, or perhaps it would be more correct to say, when I let life overwhelm me and I forget.
I don't think I'm alone in this struggle. Lately when I look at the challenges in my own life, people I deeply care about who are sick, a large family and circle of friends we love and want to stay connected with, meaningful work that takes time and energy, and the challenges of school... all can make a "heavy" life. How do I lighten the load?
Some of it is choice, and there are other things that I have no control of. It hit me the other day that I needed to practice more "living in the moment"... just taking the task or moment at hand, and letting everything else go. To turn off the mind that wants to race to the "to do" list, or the "what if" pile... and just enjoy this moment. I am convinced that we spend so much of our time analyzing and regretting the past and planning and fretting about an unknown future, that we forget to really live. To breathe.
So I did. Just take a deep breath. Feels good....
"This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!" I've heard those words so many times and it would be a good practice to recall them daily. Today is good because I'm alive. I am breathing. I have family to love. I have food to eat, and shelter over my head. I live in a beautiful place.
The old proverb, translated, says it well: "A joyful heart helps healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones". Proverbs 17:22 CEB
One of the places I play and find joy is at my local Art Center. As I create bits of pottery, I find joy in the creation, and in a place of creativity. But here too, I can get serious. As I concentrated on putting on handles the other day, someone encouraged me to lighten up. Enjoy the moment! Relax the intensity, I thought... it's just a handle! (And they snapped my picture to prove it... thanks, Laurel!)
So I'm reminded again to live well... to laugh often. To gather pleasure in the moments. This is not to deny suffering or pain in myself, or others. But to balance life with joy. Joy that is a gift from God, a gift I receive with gladness today.