The very same evening I had an appointment at our church. As I was waiting for my turn, another man there made small talk with me. I mentioned that I was getting ready to go to India and he about jumped out of his chair! This past year he had spent a great deal of time in India. And guess where? Chennai. He couldn't pull his phone out of his pocket fast enough to scroll through the hundreds of pictures he took, trying in vain to capture the grandeur and essence of the city. His enthusiasm was contagious. He told me we were in for the experience of a lifetime - that words and pictures cannot convey what we were about to take in. No mention of disease. No mention of risks. Just pure joy at the incredible opportunity we have before us.
I know it's dirty. I know it smells. I know it's dangerous. And I know that this experience is not unlike so many we have all had in our lives. Living carries with it risks that we constantly have to ask ourselves if we are willing to take. If opportunities present themselves and we habitually say, "yeah, but..." are we really living? Maybe it depends on what comes after those words.
Yeah, I got some funny looks at Lowe's in July, but I got to shop with Spiderman.
Yeah, I know other mom's would do it if I didn't raise my hand, but then I would miss the chance to attend preschool cowboy day with my son and girls camp with my daughter.
Yeah, it took me 3 days to scrub that marker mustache off my face, and I had to make a second dinner that day, but it meant a lot to my son that we made a recipe from his new library book.
Yeah, it's a lot of work to grow a garden in Texas, but we can toast with grape juice made from our vines and eat 38 pound watermelons 2 days flat.
Yeah, it's a sacrifice to be without my husband during the fall football season, but his joy is my joy.
Yeah, running is mostly a lot of sweat and dread, but the experience of running a half marathon with my amazing little sister was worth it all.
Yeah, my back door wouldn't make the pages of Architectural Digest, but it reminds those who live here and visit here who we are, who we represent, and how much we are loved.
Yeah, it's a lot of work to have 20 preschoolers over for a swimming party, but this little man sure felt special when he turned 5.
Yeah, I'm not a dog person, but I have a daughter who is.
Yeah, and I'm not a chicken person either, but in a strange way they give us an opportunity to more fully live our family motto. (more on that another time)
Yeah, I felt silly holding a funeral for a lark that got caught in our mousetrap, but a proper goodbye was a must.
Yeah, I was so exhausted I wanted to write the English paper myself, but I loved my daughter enough to let her struggle and cry her way through it. (yes those are teardrops)
Yeah, my grandfather can't see me anymore and he won't remember my visit, but he knew in that moment he was loved.
Yeah, starting traditions requires sacrifice, but it's those things that bind our families together forever.
Yeah, I was in a hurry, but that day nature taught me patience.
Yeah, I don't know a mother alive who can't wait for the "but" that comes with perseverence.
Yeah, cleaning up after a mud fight isn't much fun, but the part kids remember is.
And yeah, it's cliche but true... if we take time to dance in the rain, we too can fall down laughing until our sides hurt and we will know those things that look like obstacles become our joy. If only we have the courage to embrace them.