How’s Your Life Balance?

Who ISN’T trying to find some balance in their lives nowadays? I think our schedule-crazy society works against nearly everyone, including kids. I’m blown away by all the options available to the kiddos and secretly wish they didn’t have so many. I loved my carefree childhood days where the only commitments I had were swimming lessons for a few weeks and Vacation Bible School. Ahhh, the good old days… (said “June Cleaver!”)

The balance I want to chat about in this post, however, isn’t that issue. It’s an idea that came to me after my prayer time this morning.

I continue to struggle with sadness every day, and the 20+ months of that since Dale’s death is absolutely exhausting. I’m also coming to grips with the fact that this is very much the reality of my life now and probably will be for a very long time. Hard not to focus on that when it permeates my soul daily.

So to combat that, I decided to change that focus to the “ever-popular” attitude of gratitude. Or, in other words, change the balance in my life. I’ve taken multiple stabs at that in the past year or two, but it doesn’t always “stick.”

I did begin to thank God for the blessings that are ever-present in my life today. I thanked Him for the blessed life I had for so very many years. And I am immeasurably excited about and grateful for what lies ahead in an eternity in Heaven.

So, the statistician in me took over the analysis at this point. (For those of you who haven’t heard; a statistician is someone with their head in the oven and their feet in ice water who ways, “On average, I feel fine.” Sorry, I couldn’t resist that. I have so few opportunities to use math humor…)

Back to the subject at hand. When I thought about how much of my past has been good and added to that the parts of my present that are good and added to that the future that will be AMAZING, guess what conclusion I came to? When eternity is part of that equation, there is barely a sliver of time that is anything but good! It must be something like 99.99999999999…. % incredible! How’s that for a new focus?

Even if your life on this earth has been full of trials and difficulties, if you know that Heaven is your future home, you too will have virtually no bad times showing up in your life balance scales.

An eternity of perfection wipes away ANY difficulties we’ve experienced in this life, no matter how plentiful they are.

Of course, it doesn’t feel like that when we’re in the middle of this present world. Only in retrospect will we come to fully understand and enjoy this glorious truth.

But it did help me to look at my pain a bit differently. Less permanent, less all-encompassing, less discouraging, less heart wrenching. It reminded me to keep fighting the good fight. Keep focusing on God’s will in my life. Keep counting my blessings. And keep my eyes on “Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith” (Heb 12:2).

So, how is your life balance? Would it help to have an eternal perspective? Could you ask God to help you develop it? I’m pretty sure it’s what would honor Him the most. It will be my prayer for you.

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison…
2 Corinthians 4:17

What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.
James 4:14

“It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times…”

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For those of you who are “literature literate,” you will recognize these words as the beginning of Charles Dickens’ famous “Tale of Two Cities.” I read it way back in sophomore year English class in high school.

While these words are renowned, I applied them very appropriately to my college years. No question, at the time, that’s exactly how I described my college experience to everyone! For me, it absolutely was the best of times and the worst of times. But that was [cough, cough] years ago.

I was honored to play the piano for a wedding today. It was a beautiful event – full of hope, full of love, full of gospel teaching, full of joy and full of possibilities.

It’s the first wedding I’ve attended since Dale’s death 20 months ago (tomorrow). But it wasn’t my first invitation. I haven’t been able to attend alone yet. This was easier because I camped out at the keyboard throughout the ceremony. I had other things to keep my mind occupied. And I made it through without losing it. Yea me!

But, afterwards, I was chatting with a friend and mentioned that this was my first wedding post-Dale. I commented that weddings were harder for me than funerals. My wedding was also a beautiful event – full of hope, full of love, not-quite-as-full of gospel teaching, full of joy and full of possibilities.

THAT is what makes attendance at a wedding so hard for me as a widow now. I can’t help but be transported back to that amazing day in September 1986. But what a blessing that my memory of that day is still so crystal clear. And not just the memory of the activities of the day, but the memory of all the beautiful emotions I felt so many years ago.

With 32 years in the rear-view mirror, I can see the mixture of what our marriage was. Certainly, it was times of hope, love, joy and possibilities. But it was also times of trials, challenges, selfishness and heartache. That’s exactly what marriage is – and that’s what this beautiful young couple will grow to understand over time. Marriage – and life – are a mixture of joy and sorrow.  Keeping God front and center is the key!

So, back to my conversation with my friend. As we wrapped it up, I said, “My wedding day was the best day of my life. And Dale’s funeral was the worst day of my life.”

Ta-da – Tale of Two Cities! Tale of life in this world. But that’s OK because what’s ahead for us as believers is a TRULY beautiful event – FULL of love, FULL of the Gospel (because Jesus will be there) and FULL of eternal joy. Hope fulfilled.

So, for those of you who are married, whether it’s for 3 hours as this young couple – or for 50 years, hug your spouse, tell them you love them and thank God for the work He does through your marriage.

I miss Dale every day, but I’m so grateful not only for that special day 32+ years ago, but for the journey that brought me from wedding day to funeral day and beyond. This is life. Embrace it all. The best of times and the worst of times.

So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice,
and no one will take your joy from you.
John 16:22

Things That Are Hard to Do Alone



This past weekend, I got extra ambitious and decided to spray my mattress with a bottle promising to kill all the dust mites that have been eating my eyelashes for a while now. And along with that 4-hour soaking project, I also decided to flip the queen-sized mattress, like any responsible mattress owner.

I have done it a few times over the last year or two, but it’s always exhausting. On Saturday, as I was wrestling with this monstrosity, it “flipped out” and knocked my bedroom TV over, hitting the screen on the edge of the TV stand.

At first glance, it looked OK. But that night, as I was attempting to watch a little TV before dozing off, the screen looked like a really bad imitation of a Picasso painting. Yep, gonna need a new TV…

As I was contemplating the difficulty of this job, I was reminded again of how some things are hard, or even impossible to do alone. Aha! There’s a blog post topic for me! (I’m always sniffing one of those out…)

And since I spend the majority of my time alone, especially here at home, I figured it was the perfect subject matter and I should be able to have lots of ideas.

My goal was to have a humorous post for a change to balance out some of those pathetic ones I write from time to time. Because the mattress/TV thing is kind of funny, right?

So, I sat down at the computer – prayed like you know I do – and then could only think of SAD things to do alone! That’s NOT what I was looking for!

But in the spirit of full disclosure, I’m going to throw out a few sad things to do alone before continuing on this quest.

• Go to a movie or a restaurant.
• Go to a wedding or funeral.
• Have a non-canine/feline conversation.
• Cry on someone’s shoulder.
• Get or give a hug.
• Put up Christmas lights.

You get the idea. Yes, there are many things that are hard to do alone. That’s all the space I’m allotting for sad things.

Back to my humor quest – I turned to my best friend, Google, and entered “Things that are hard to do alone.” Surely Google had some ideas for me. Well, I was sent to a blog post from a woman in Oregon, also a widow some years back, who had written on this very subject.

It was hilarious!! I honestly laughed out loud reading it. So, I sent her an email, letting her know how much I enjoyed it and how I was writing on that exact same subject. Long story short – we are now FaceBook friends. Check out Sue’s post for a good laugh.

As much as I was tempted to plagiarize some of her ideas (and she would likely have been OK with that), I’m committed to mostly original ideas here.

So, here is my list of “not sad” things that are hard or impossible to do alone.

• Flip a queen-sized mattress without destroying any other furniture…or my back.
• Drop myself off at the front door of anyplace in the rain.
• Play Gin Rummy
• Make a toast to someone’s health
• Ride a motorcycle without being the driver.
• Win or lose an argument.
• Blame anyone else when you lose things.
• Play tennis or racquet ball.
• Get the cat in the kennel.

Now let’s do some audience participation. I’d LOVE to hear from any of my readers the FUNNY things that are hard to do alone. And please, keep it G-rated. I have the power to delete your comment…

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone;
I will make him a helper fit for him.”
Genesis 2:18