"Mom the problem is—- there are just too many good days,” she said while curled up on my lap like a cat as we watched a lightning storm dance its way over the ocean. She rattled off the list as fast as she could, “Cupcakes, new friends, the beach, seeing dolphins, our very own house with three porches that look over the ocean and now God’s fireworks flashing through the puffy clouds in the sky—-
“It’s the best day of my whole entire life!!! But not better than Disney World. It's just...Uggghhh,” she sighed, visibly conflicted, “I just don’t know how to pick. Mom the problem is—- there are just too many good days.”
I quietly laughed. Oh the anguish of being a five-year-old in the age of abundance!
I assured her she did not have to pick a favorite, in the same way she doesn’t have to have just one best friend or one favorite meal; there is plenty of room for too many good days.
She’s right of course.
Life is hard. But it is also laced with too many good days.
Some of those good days are a bit more grand than others. Weddings, babies, graduations, promotions, performances, dream vacations. But other good days are so sweet, simple and surprising that if you blink you might miss them. Bubbles on the porch, dominoes with Grandpa (oh, to waste one more night playing Mexican Train around the table with my grandpa), quiet Saturdays spent reading to one another, catching a glimpse of something beautiful during the nightly walk, an enjoyable time with family- no eggshells, WWIII, guilt trips or tantrums- just a nice dinner and a sense of peace, joy even, a long talk on the phone with your momma as you run errands and catch green lights.
A day full of green lights—-
Life is hard and it’s laced with too many good days.
Today, Ryan and I sign the papers and close on our first house in over 12 years of marriage. I’ve lived in apartments and condos since 1999 but in a few short weeks I will have my very own driveway and a backyard; the word mortgage has never sounded so beautiful! This time last week I stood by my grandpas casket and said goodbye to him and it was harder than I ever imagined; tears keep finding me. And yet four days after that, two states, two time zones, a suitcase change and a plane ride I found myself on a vacation that was gifted to me. A free beach house fully stocked with wine, cupcakes and gifts for my daughter upon arrival. Incredible time with friends and a boat ride where a momma and baby dolphin decided to follow us and ride our boats’ waves. Annie and I squealed out loud with unhindered awe and joy.
On Wednesday she starts Kindergarten. Can you believe it? She is not excited and I have already told Ryan that he will need to treat it as a National Day of Mourning for me. "Do the things husbands are supposed to do when their wives are mourning," I have carefully instructed him, because it’s gonna be a doozie. I have made sure he understands this in advance. He understands I will need flowers, alone time, probably a massage, definitely Mexican food and permission to be cranky because I am HANDING MY BABY GIRL OVER and I already miss her.
In a matter of ten days I will have experienced: A funeral and grieving heart, a dream vacation, closing on a house and baby girl going to Kindergarten. And those are just the big moments on my timeline. There are other not-so-monumental hurts, fears, problems, joys, delights, privileges, hopes…
All happening in one concurrent gamut, bumping up against each other, co-existing in the same heart- the same life.
It is not just mountaintops or valleys. As if you can reach the top of a mountain and not get ant bites or dehydration. As if you can languish in a valley and not look up to catch glimpses of sun peeking through clouds and rain falling to keep you alive. There is no such thing as a pain-free mountaintop experience. And for the person of faith that believes Jesus is living water, there is no such thing as a valley depleted of sustenance.
Our journeys look more like mountaintops and valleys and a thousand pathways in between, all happening at once. To our great benefit, life is rarely exclusive in its scope.
Life is water in wastelands and dehydration on mountaintops and too many ordinary, plain, sacred, holy, simple good days in between.
And I am all the more rich for it.