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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Charmed Life

My family has always joked among themselves that I have a charmed life.  Exciting things happen to me, they marvel.  I suppose I give the impression of having more adventures than most people, but in retrospect, I wonder if it is just that I have a broader definition of adventure.

True, my unconventional plans often yield unconventional experiences.  But they are not usually the results I intend!  I think then, that the impression of great fortune is really just finding adventure in an unplanned turn of events.  I am sometimes equally happy with what happened than with what I originally sought.

Recently, I have sought one thing: more sleep.  To Cookie's irritation, I continued to average 12-14 hours a night even after I had my first child.  With my second, however, a steady stream of ear infections, new teeth, and holiday trips, made a mockery of my strict bedtime standards for several straight months.  Unwilling to give up the Charmed status, though, I decided to enjoy the feeding at midnight.  And at 2 a.m.  And 3:30.  At 5, and then 6, it was really, really hard.  But I was squeezing every last drop of joy out of these fleeting years by reminding myself that GaleForce would be bigger, whinier, and less pleasingly pudgy very soon.  When I look back, I will feel charmed, indeed.

Without being too trite and sentimental about precious moments, let me put this into a less mushy context for you.  Losing sleep is just a current daily example of my inability to bring my plans to fruition.  What I need is some eternal perspective on my plans, my results, and all the times those don't match up.  Because that's the way God works.

With God, a lost job yields a closer-knit family.

With God, a miserable bout of strep throat means all the kids are home from school the miraculous day the cat has her kittens.

Or you run six blocks in heels and miss the 12:00 bus, but get to witness to a pregnant teenager next to you on the 12:15.

Joseph's path to glory involved slavery, exile, and incarceration.  Probably at the moment he was sold by his brothers, or as he stood wrongly accused by Potiphar's wife, he wondered at God's judgment.  But during his trials, as head of Potiphar's affairs, and as overseer of his prison ward, I bet that Joseph would have seemed curiously content with his lot, anticipating God's next move in his story.  Charmed despite his misfortunes.

I have not Joseph's faith, nor have I been tested as cruelly.  My stories are not the stuff of Charlton Heston epics.  Still, within them, I find that enjoying the opportunity offered is so much nicer than lamenting the prize withheld.  Moreover, my schemes to secure my own happiness can sabotage my peace and purposefulness.  Sometimes the best thing God can do is to disrupt our plans, our schedules, and even our sleep.  The charm is all in our perspective.

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