For the Days When It’s Hard to Enjoy {The Grove – Enjoy}

The littlest one wakes from a jet lagged nap, fitfully inconsolable. Screaming, screaming, nothing soothes. Weary and frayed, I decide to get out, to take him for a walk.

On my way out the door, the husband and I get into a spat. My temper flares. We’re here to enjoy, but we’re all of us a mess. I march out the door.

The boy strains against his stroller straps, wailing for all the neighborhood to hear. He wants his happy place, close to my heart. So I strap 30lbs of nearly two-year-old chunk to my chest and take off down the road. He snuggles in close.

The sea pulls me like a magnet. I’m pounding the tension through my heels. I traipse through the forest, skirting puddles of mud. The air mists, the sky wisps grey. I come to the edge of the sea, on the shelf of a cliff, looking down at the sand. All around me is fog, I’m in the midst of a cloud, rolling in off the water.

My breath is steadier now. The boy is perfectly perky now, the jet lag demons have vanished. We find a bench and settle ourselves. I sit to sort myself, to wade through the thoughts and feelings swirling within. And I feel nothing but in the thick of the fog.

In the fog of life.

I long to see the horizon, to see hope and promise on the other side of “It’s all too much” today. But the fog lets me see only where I am, what’s right before me, no farther.

When I stop straining to see the horizon, when I look down at what I can see, it’s then that I see – the beauty around me, too easily missed when fighting the mist.

The flowering grace of right now.

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***

I see it in my daughter too. She gets caught in the worries and wants. She rattles off her list of “woes” and I sigh exasperated. “How about you think of all the amazing things you have to be thankful for today?”

And now I’m preaching to myself.

***

But my daughter, unlike nearly anyone I know, she knows how to lose herself in the wonder of a moment.

If there’s one word that describes my girl, it might be exuberant.

Every birthday party she has ever been to she has loudly proclaimed to be “the best birthday party EVER.” Every single party.

Sitting at the airport Burger King, in her pre-departure excitement, she declares this ice cream eating moment “the best time of my life.”

Walking to the beach from her grandparents’ house, she catches a glimpse of the sea. “Look, Mom, look!! Look at the color of the ocean!! I LOVE the color of the ocean.”

This girl knows how to enjoy.

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She teaches me to see, to stop and delight.

And so I do.

I see the waves fold in like layer upon layer of lace. Sea foam bubbles, iridescent pearls trimming the earth’s bridal skirt.

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I see a couple of cold crazies, stripped down, wild and gloriously free.

I see the marvel of a man I married, the gift of him.   The ever-enduring love that always comes back to hold the brokenness of each other.

***

There is still the bustle of do, do, do.

But there is also the act of rest and quiet, the practice of gratitude, the glories to enjoy.

There is still the misty horizon, the unanswered questions, the how‘s, the when‘s, the why‘s.

But always, always there is beautiful grace… right in the thick of the foggy days too.

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*****

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20 Comments

  1. Kelly July 11, 2014

    Your post is so timely! We are about to jetlag move back to Uganda. And my word this year is “here”.  So much of my word is just paying attention and giving thanks for what is right in front of me.  Great reminder! This Homeland Assignment has been so much better than our first one, not perfect, but better- more on that on my blog!

    1. Danielle Wheeler July 11, 2014

      Blessings on the coming move.  The craziness of global moves is still fresh for me!  Keep the mantra “We will survive!” playing on repeat.  🙂  Heading over to your blog…

  2. Kate July 11, 2014

    Beautifully written.  Thank you for this great reminder to pause and enjoy what we do have in the here and now.  (And I love that photo of the bridge, by the way!)  Blessings to you!

    1. Danielle Wheeler July 11, 2014

      Thank you, Kate!  Photo credit to my photographer husband for that pic. 🙂  

  3. Erin July 11, 2014

    Love this Danielle!  Love this!

     

  4. Amy Young July 11, 2014

    Danielle, this is beautiful. I have two mixed responses going on inside of me right now. One is that we are having a season/week of not much enjoying as our dear friend’s son is missing. Shocking. Shocking. Shocking. But then I read about your dear daughter and recognize a kindred spirit :). My sister’s have both mocked me (more lovingly in adulthood, less so in our teen years) for my enthusiasm about … almost everything!!! In the end, who probably has had more fun :)? Me. Much love to you and your clan.

    1. Danielle Wheeler July 11, 2014

      Oh, Amy… So very, very sorry to hear about your friend’s son. Tragic.  How old is he?  I can’t imagine that fog…  

      And yes, you are a kindred spirit to my girl.  I love that about you!  

       

       

      1. Amy Young July 11, 2014

        He’s mid-20’s and it’s all so surreal and no where as neat and tidy as on TV 🙁

  5. Laura July 11, 2014

    Danielle,

    Loved the pictures of the ocean, as well as the reminder to find the beauty even when life seems a bit foggy. Thank you!

    1. Danielle Wheeler July 11, 2014

      Thanks, Laura.  Snapping pictures and finding word descriptions helps me see and enjoy…  

  6. Amanda July 11, 2014

    When I’m in China, getting ready to go back to America, I can’t wait to enjoy everything America has to offer – clean air and fewer people while I’m out walking, shopping for clothes that fit, finding and eating foods I miss while in China… but then I get back to America and jet lag hits and then reverse culture shock and everything that I was looking forward to enjoying is actually really overwhelming. I miss the bustle of my college campus in China and I can’t make any decisions with all the choices I have here. I was definitely a mess the other day when I started crying in the car after a trip to the grocery store (and buying a cell phone and going to the bank…I definitely did too many American things that day!) I know the day will come when I can enjoy these things again, and not just feel overwhelmed.

    1. Laura July 11, 2014

      Yes, grocery shopping. Wanting to enjoy it but being too overwhelmed to be able to. I’ve been there as well. 🙂

    2. Danielle Wheeler July 11, 2014

      Funny how the grass is always greener on the other side, eh?  I’ve definitely had the grocery store induced tears too!  And yeah, gotta pace yourself with all the American to-do’s. 🙂  

      I know the fog will settle for us both.  Here’s a hug in the mean time!    

  7. Kristi July 11, 2014

    In His Joy

    “Enjoy,”

    My mind whispers to my heart,

    “Receive the gifts the Father gives.

    See His goodness poured out to you

    In sunshine and blue skies

    Toothless grins and sticky faces.

    Hear His heart of compassion

    In the voice of a friend

    And a child’s giggles and squeals.

    Feel His love simply displayed

    In a gentle embrace

    And as fingers entwine.

    Take your

    Broken

    Wounded

    Bleeding heart

    And immerse it

    In His Joy

    And be healed.”

    1. Danielle Wheeler July 12, 2014

       It made me smile to see a poem from Kristi.  🙂  Each line holds volumes. Simply beautiful…    

    2. Polly July 13, 2014

      I’ve missed your beautiful voice on here Kristi!  Thanks for offering your words.  The enjoyment and the joy of kiddos (especially nieces and nephews!) speaks so much of the Father’s heart and the joy He must feel in our sticky faces and giggles and squeals too  🙂

  8. Beth July 12, 2014

    I was not sure what to expect this summer. Home with the kids for 10 weeks while my husband worked sounded looooong and hot! We made a plan for my sanity’s sake and that has been super helpful. We are now half way through the summer, and as I browse through the last few weeks’ photos I just downloaded from my camera onto my computer I SEE so much we have already ENJOYED!
    – A brilliant full rainbow across our city (and the memory of a thunderstorm that brought much relief to the heat)
    – Furry animals we are pet-sitting for friends
    – My oldest is now old enough to enjoy a board game that is not Candyland 🙂
    – My son washing his sister’s feet
    – Water gun fight with neighborhood friends
    – Art projects that remind me how creatively different my children are
    – My six year old’s love for little babies
    – Friends, friends and more friends of all ages who are also here for the summer! (It’s NOT as lonely as I anticipated it might have been! Yeah!)
    – A living room that has been totally rearranged by my children into a magical kingdom … and me being OK with the “redecoration”, enough to let them keep it this way for several days! (I must be relaxing enough to enjoy!)

    Capturing these moments by camera helps me reflect on and remember all the things we are enjoying! Here’s to enjoying the remaining summer days!

    1. Danielle Wheeler July 12, 2014

      Isn’t it powerful to name the simple joys?  Love your list and all the ways you are enjoying your summer.  So glad you shared!  

  9. Jennifer July 12, 2014

    Enjoying in the Fog…. Recognizing that being in fog, whatever the cause, does not mean that you cannot “enjoy” the small things… but rather can actually find in that the light and energy to persevere in the midst of the fog, rather than be overwhelmed by it, has helped me greatly in recent times.

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