The Gift of Whimsy
Wake up, go to work, go home, scarf down some food, collapse into bed, repeat.
Slipping into a fog when our days are seized in the everyday humdrum of life is way too easy. For full-time worker bees like me, who also have to balance social life and bills to pay and remembering to eat, sometimes it seems as though only a few things going awry can throw off our whole day.
The day I wrote this blog post was not a good one. I’d slept in, showed up flustered and late to work, and one thing after another seemed to be going wrong or something I did wrong. I came home frustrated, angry at myself, annoyed at others, and dripping wet from the rainy day that topped it off. And ready for a tub of Gelati.
We’re all entitled to feeling crumby about a bad day…but my perspective could have used some tweaking. When our 9-5’s swallow up our weekdays, it can be hard to focus on the things that light us up.
Every day, I fight to manage a lot pressure: pressure from others in both personal and professional realms, and consequentially, pressure on myself. I forget to be kind to myself, remembering that no one is perfect and given our human nature, mistakes are a normal part of life (funny how we may know that, but not necessarily feel it, at least not about ourselves.)
Joy exists. Peace exists. Remember the simple happiness you felt as a kid, even from the smallest things? I swear eating a Fruit Rollup would put me right in heaven when I was six years old (largely because I wasn’t allowed to eat them!) Other memories that come to mind for me?
Saturday soccer games, smelling the leather in my cleats and the citrus on my hands from our team snack, whether I scored a goal that day or not;
My favorite dessert in the whole wide world, that my mom used to make (and still makes me, now as a housewarming present whenever I move); a recipe passed on for a few generations now, something she and my grandmother simply called “Good Stuff”;
The way our dog smells after she’s just had a bath, how soft her fur is, and how badly she wants to snuggle whether she’s seen you five minutes ago or five months ago;
How honey suckles smell and taste;
Old Saturday cartoons like Tom & Terry and Scooby Doo;
Wandering through the woods in my backyard, with no sense of time or mission, other than to walk and explore;
Shouts and laughing at the ice skating rink with my friends in high school;
My grandparents taking me to all the fun places in Florida, some of my favorites being Disney World and Gatorland;
Painting lessons with my Mimi;
My sister and I screaming on the inner tube, zipping around the boat with friends and family in the cool and crystal-clear lake water at our old lake house in Cedar, Michigan.
When we allow ourselves to get caught up in the day-to-day grind, viewing ourselves as workhorses and our worth in our accomplishments, we forget to value those precious bits of life that we enjoy, that light each of us up in our own way.
In the throws of a rough and bitter winter, finding the botanical gardens helped revive some of my whimsy. I wanted nothing more than to lose track of time, forget how to reach a watch (I still actually struggle to read a watch), and gape at every variation of flora and fauna made for tropical climate.
I’d recently heard a word from the Lord that He delighted in my curiosity for nature. It’s true that I’ve always been fascinated by nature - plants and animals are a wondrous joy for me, and if I can’t have one I most certainly collect some of the other! (As a dog and cat fosterer, I even became close friends with the foster coordinator at the animal shelter down the road from my old house…she knew I couldn’t turn down a dog or cat needing a temporary home if they called me to ask!) Standing there, amidst breathtaking greenery so lush and verdant you forget you’re in the middle of Washington, DC, I thought back on the memory of hearing that word and smiled.
How kind is the Lord to us? To create us in His image and yet make all of us completely unique from the next? To instill our innermost loves and desires that bring Him delight? I love Him all the more because of the way He made me, and I see His endless mind for creativity in all of His creation (this song sings to Him about it, and it’s one of my favorites.)
So in the end, His opinion of you and His definition of your worth is all that counts. In our broken world, we have no choice but to go out and be amidst the influx of hurt feelings and bitterness and angry honking horns and the enemy’s lies and the wrath of sin.
But at the end of the day we need only to run back to Him for comfort and safety, to be so soothingly reminded of His promises He gifts us, the truth He repeats to us, and the love He lavishes on us.
Photo Credit: Anne D. Kim (@annekim.photo)