In a season of renewal, I keep having these glimpses of what's wrong with my life - at least as my heart would live it. And the answer is that there's too much of my head involved, but perhaps that's another story for another day. As I'm glimpsing what this could be, what arguably it should be, I am blessed to have these flashes of moments that remind me what that might be like.
Because your best life - my best life - contrary to popular belief, is not something to be created; it is something to be remembered.
The thing about our best life is that we've somewhere been convinced that it's something we build. Something we do. A series of things, maybe. Accomplishments, activities, events. Memories to be made. Yet every time I'm making a memory these days, I have this thought of: "I remember this once...and this is not how I want to remember this."
Life is not about the things we do, the ways we do them, the reasons we do them. Life is about the way we experience those things, and if your heart is right in the moment, I'm finding it doesn't much matter what you're doing, how, or why.
I take great joy in writing; you probably know that by now. Some days, it's a task. It's a chore. Something I have to check off my list. Some days, I want to take my journal and wander outside and sit on my new sittin' stump (I made myself a sittin' stump when I took down part of the tree last week) and write like I used to. You know, when I was a kid and it wasn't anything and it wasn't even really a thing except that I loved to do it and I had all these words. And some days, I want to still do that and I look at my calendar and I look at my clock and I look at the shelf where I keep my journal, the pen lying next to me and I think, "It's an awful lot of work to get there, and I have other things to do today."
I love driving in the country or wandering outside or just roaming around. And all too often, it's easy to come back inside and forget everything I saw between my front door and my front door. It's easy to go to worship and sing the songs and then crank up the radio in the car on the way home and wonder what songs we sang at church that morning. And...was there even a sermon?
We do all this stuff on autopilot, it seems, because we're so distracted by the details of things. Distracted by the thoughts we're having about our thoughts, and the thoughts we're having about thoughts we know we're going to have later.
When I think about my best life, it's moments I remember - and it's not a single thing I was doing. I remember the moment. I remember the experience. I remember what it's like to have all of the details taken care of and to have one responsibility: show up and be there. Just show up. Just be there. Just be into it. You know, like when you're a kid and you're not thinking about the disgusting things people do in the streets you want to play in. You're not thinking about what time it might be because when it's time, someone will call you home. You're not thinking about responsibilities and deadlines and duties because you have them (I had them. We called them "chores," although I'm finding that it's hit-and-miss whether kids today know of such things) but you have this moment, too, and when you're a kid and you've got nothing on your schedule, this moment seems like just the perfect one.
So I remember what it was like to play the piano and not wonder if the window was open, not think about who might be walking by, not agonize over whether you've practiced this piece enough for someone maybe to hear. I remember what it was like to run and jump and let out a yell because it seemed nobody was listening, and if they were, you didn't notice them. (A few weeks ago in the Walmart parking lot, I "rode the cart" to the cart corral - like I used to do when I was a kid, but as an adult it seems so wasteful, such whimsy. As I kicked off and soared down the row, an elderly gentleman looked at me for a second before letting out a "Wheeeeeeeeeee!" and I looked at him and smiled and he smiled back, and I said, "That's right!" It's moments like that.)
I remember what it's like to dance like no one is watching, to run around the yard with the dog, to work and not take credit for it, to love and not leave my name. I remember what it's like to not think about what I think about that.
Perhaps most importantly, at least to a heart that's looking for its best life, I remember what it's like to raise a hand in worship without checking to see if I'm the only one. I remember what it's like to close my eyes in prayer and not have the faded image of everyone around me haunting my quiet time. I remember what it's like to give myself over to God and experience the moment He has for me. I remember what it's like to cry out without wondering if I've got it right. Heck, I remember what it's like to cry out without analyzing whether I've exhausted the extent of my own capabilities first.
I remember what it's like to worship, to pray, to trust, to love. I remember what it's like to experience God, just like I remember what it's like to experience this life. And I think that was my best life. When I was just there and not busied in the details, not buried in the distractions. When I knew that every little thing was taken care of and all I had to do was show up and be there.
That was my best life.
And it can be this one. Because it's never been more true that every little thing is already taken care of, that I don't have to dance with the details, that I don't have to disco with the distractions. God has created this awesome space for me, this awesome life that would be my best life if I could do just one simple thing and show up and be here.
Which ironically, I think, would be a life worth remembering.