Today was a crisp overcast fall day, with leaves that are not showing off quite as spectacularly as they usually do in Western Colorado. It is quite fitting for me to be sitting here beside the fireplace gazing out the window as the wind gently rustles through the trees, Angie is sprawled on the couch across for me, Olesya is down the hall in her room quietly working on something after feeling ill for 3 days. Ang and I went to the Apple Fest this morning in Cedaredge, then went for a short drive partially up to the Grand Mesa where we could see over the vast open landscape of our beloved region.
We bought honeycrisp apples, and lemon mint white chocolate chip bread (I will tell you later if it is good! Other customers were swearing by it.) We strolled through craft booths galore, giggled an awful lot, and teased each other about how different our tastes are from one another yet also thought it was sweet that we each could spot something the other would like a mile away.
It was the kind of day that is in short supply as work, school, church, volunteering and more all seem to steal time away from us. The boys were each involved in their own activities today, and I seldom get time alone with any of the kids, so I treasure it when I do.
What I didn't realize was how much Angie treasures it, too.
Over lunch and on the winding drive, we each expressed how much we truly enjoy one another's company, how easily the conversation flows, and how fulfilling that is. Is there anything quite as sweet as having your children gradually mature into adulthood and find yourself closer than ever and having conversations of a different nature? No one ever warned me about the lovely companionship that might be possible if you make it through the teenage years intact. We have been blessed with easy teen years versus many families, and I don't attribute that to great parenting but perhaps to God's gracious care for us as we already had enough on our plates!! Last night was just as enjoyable as I was with Matt, Kenny and Angie attending an ordination at our church. The hour drive there and back was just so delightful, and I had the same sense of deep contentment that filled my soul to the brim.
A good life is really about the quality of the relationships we have, nothing else comes close to fulfilling us the way close, deep connections do.
As Angie and I continued our afternoon together, we stopped high atop the Grand Mesa and practiced our "selfie game", which we realize needs much improvement...hahaha! We goofed around:
We realized we are hopeless at selfies! We even teased about getting a selfie stick because our arms are simply not long enough and we are not coordinated enough.
But you know what? I might finally, FINALLY be getting something through my thick head. I realized that no matter how much I internally criticize how I look or who I am, my kids (and of course my hubby) love me just the way I am. For example, take this picture:
I saw this photo that Angie took today, and my first immediate thoughts were, "Eww...yuck! I am SO fat and I look like a big blob! I am sort of repulsive in all kinds of ways. And I am SUCH a dork!" I know I am not the only person who feels that way about themselves, be it in photos or simply thinking about who they are and not feeling like they are "enough". I am not pretty, I am not thin, I am not brilliant, I am not fashionable, I am not important, I am not accomplished.
But you know what Angie said when she saw this pic? She exclaimed aloud how she had the BEST picture of me and how much she loved it! Excitement filled her voice as she couldn't wait to share it with me.
What Angie, my family, and a few close friends see is what I AM, not what I am not. Why is that so hard for me to see?
So, what AM I?
- Sometimes funny
- Someone who thinks about others
- Reasonably intelligent
- Hard working
- Interested in all kinds of things and a lifelong learner
- Open minded
- A hugger
- Someone willing to say the hard things with care
- A natural teacher
- A whole bunch more
When I heard Angie's joy at seeing what she felt was a good picture of me, it made me look at it differently. She sees me through eyes that love me, and those are the best eyes ever to see any of us, aren't they?
And then it dawned on me...a huge DUH moment...those who love me look at me and feel exactly what I feel when I look lovingly at them!
Seriously, isn't this the STUPIDEST thing ever not to have realized far earlier in my life? I mean, of course I "knew it", but I never really felt it. What was it about Angie's delightful exclamation that triggered different thinking? I have no idea, but her insistence that this was a great photo of me and that she loved it clearly caused me to stop and reconsider my own self-assessment.
I love that at 52 years old I am continuing to make new discoveries, to learn, and to grow. I love that my kids are often my greatest teachers and how God uses all kinds of situations to hit me over the head with a 2x4 so I can see things differently.
So...instead of what I am not, I am going to try and refocus my attention on what I AM.