For the week of my birthday, we headed up to the Bighorn Mountains to enjoy the lower temps and hoping to catch the coming meteor shower. We found a great boondocking spot that ended up being right near an unmarked trailhead for a breathtaking hike to a waterfall. The trail took us through some woods, out into a meadow, and then to a creek cascading down into about six or seven pools before plunging over the side of a canyon wall. It was awesome. The meteor shower did not disappoint either. At 9,000 feet it feels like you can see every star in the sky, not to mention the Milky Way, clear as day. It seemed like there was a meteor every 30-60 seconds. We watched until our necks couldn’t hold our heads up any longer. It was spectacular and made turning 40 a little less painful.
I won’t lie, as my birthday approached I often found myself deep in thought. The big 4-0. How did this happen? Was college really 18 years ago? Is my oldest child really about to be a teenager? These questions were followed by harder to answer ones. What have I accomplished? Am I living my dream? Am I a good wife, a good mom, a good friend? Am I the person I want to be? Am I extraordinary, or just extra ordinary? What can I be doing better? Growing up I always wanted to be a missionary, and I did a lot of missions for a lot of years. I still miss it sometimes. I also wanted to be a photographer, which I kind of am, but not the kind that gets paid. Most importantly, I wanted to always love God, love people, and allow God to love people through me. I feel like I’m doing a pretty good job loving my kids, but then, they make it pretty easy. Adult people though, I think are harder, right? When I was a kid, I had a pin that said “The more people I meet, the more I love my dog.” Let’s be real, I was never a super people person. To be honest, I might be pretty good hermit material. Okay, not quite, but the nomadic life definitely suits me. With that being said, I do really miss community. Not the social life, but the nitty gritty, share your life (the good, the bad, and the ugly) kind of community. It’s hard to find on the road and hard to maintain long distance. So, in the meantime, if I am called to love people, what does that look like? For me, it is making eye contact as often as possible, making sure there is kindness in my smile and that the kindness extends to my eyes and my words. Being kind. It seems hard to find these days. Like intelligence and logic. But don’t get me going on those! Romans 2:4 says that the kindness of God draws men to repentance. So, since He is kind, and we consider ourselves followers, why aren’t more Christians modeling His kindness? My kids all have this need to be right. But beyond that, they also seem to have a need for others to not be wrong. So they will go out of their way to make sure their sibling understands the error of their thinking, even if it is completely unrelated to themselves. They need the other person to understand that they are wrong so they can help them get it right. I’m still trying to figure out where this need comes from. But what if, in the real world, we stopped getting in each other’s faces, trying to convince each other that our truth is the truth? Or even that someone’s else’s idea of truth simply isn’t true? Even if we are right and what we believe to be true is true, wouldn’t it be better to simply model it? Isn’t it possible that kindness is more important than (self) righteousness or rightness? Funny thing about my kids is that even once they realize the other is right, they still refuse to cave to the truth, because it wasn’t revealed in kindness. There needs to be a balance of kindness AND truth. Shoving the truth down people’s throats isn’t going to benefit anyone. But if we don’t speak the truth because we are afraid to offend or afraid of being “blacklisted,” that isn’t actually being kind to anyone either. What if being brave enough to stand firm in a your beliefs and articulating the truth, with both logic and love, is actually the kindest thing you can do for someone lost in the waves of rhetoric and political correctness? In a world where kindness, intelligence, and logic aren’t “trending,” imagine the opportunity we, as believers, have to stand out?! And so, as I mature (age is such an unfun word), I hope that I can be brave enough to be kind enough to speak the truth in love.
“Love is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain