Do You Have to Endure to Enjoy?


Yesterday there were moments of utter perfection. Ziggy’s PT was able to use her hands to send waves of peace deep into his stiff muscles. I shared a tasty lunch with a friend in a corner booth. We finished the day with a family walk in the evening sun, waving to neighbors all along the way.

Then there were moments that I could do without.

Unfortunate demands on an otherwise perfect day.

The crappy crap.

A load of wet sheets and towels in the washer from two days ago. Fifty rolls of toilet paper in the guest closet and not a single roll of paper towels. Ten things to mail and two stamps on hand. A voicemail reminding me about another voicemail that was left for me last week. A truck that needs an oil change.

Before I feed a pear to Ziggy, I cut the bruises out of it. I find all the imperfections, carve them out, and he only eats the best of the pear – the bruises discarded.

As I was falling asleep last night, a brief little fantasy amused me.

What if I could cut out all these moments from my life, just like cutting bruises out of a pear?

What would a day be like without a single one of these bothersome, draining events, people, and tasks?

How amazing would that day be?

I was enthralled by the idea, grinning under our sheets, a blanket pulled up to my chin — ready to drift off to sleep, clever and happy.


My eyes popped open.

Until I realized that I likely have so many “bruises” I’d cut out of my day that I’m not sure how much fruit would be left.  We’re not talking about one or two fruit bruises.  We’re talking hours.  People I’d completely erase from my life.  Jobs people wouldn’t have if we all could say “thanks but no thanks” to ear infections and other pediatric illnesses.

Great. Now I can’t fall asleep.

I got up, poured myself a glass of ice cold water. Brushed my teeth once more, just because I like the feeling of brushed teeth. As I was brushing, I noticed the screw holes on the wall where the towel rack once hung but had broken months and months ago.

One more bruise.

How exactly is one supposed to feel when you realize all you’d change in life once you start counting all the bruises?

The bills and paperwork, the dentist appointments that pop up on the calendar, the crabby people that for some reason pursue a job in customer service, the rotten tomatoes that should have lasted more than a day, the lost sunglasses, the $1 bill in your wallet that you swore was a $20 bill.

No one would blame me for not wanting those moments.

So why couldn’t I fall asleep?

I couldn’t fall asleep because –

Because there was the possibility of another perspective.

Was it possible that I could somehow be thankful for the full day – and everything in it – because I simply got to be one of the lucky ones to have one more day of life?  If I’m thankful for another day of life, I don’t have to be thankful for the whole day, right?

Or could I be thankful for it all?

Was it possible that I could mean it, and not just say it?

How might my heart change if I didn’t feel like my to-do lists stole something from me each day?

How might my blood pressure change if I wasn’t living with the mindset that I have to endure to enjoy?

How might my entire life change?

Come on. No one is really thankful for those moments. That’s all fake, for show, to look like you have it all together. If I told someone my son couldn’t yet walk and she said, Oh, you should be thankful, I just might slap the woman.

So why would I ever consider being thankful?

Why would I ever consider John 1:14 to be true? That life is “one grace after another…spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing, favor upon favor, gift upon gift.”

What if every minute of simply being alive is a new perspective of what a gift, a favor, a blessing is?

I have hands to do the laundry, and we have resources to pay a mortgage. I may have rooms to clean, but it means I have an address of my own, with a rustic little mailbox from the 1930’s, just perfect for receiving handwritten mail from my goddaughter. The truck needs an oil change, but it’s the same truck my husband took me to the State Fair in for our first date.

What if tasks weren’t waiting for me just around the corner, black clouds weren’t threatening to drop rain on my day?

What if I’m standing knee-dip in gifts but am too quick to conclude that I’m tripping on waste?

It won’t be easy to change my perspective. It won’t happen overnight. It won’t happen without grace.

But it just might change my entire life.

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