"Choose for yourself whom you will serve...
but as for me and my house,
we will serve the Lord."
We're back to normal temperatures for a few days, which feels so much colder... but welcome. I like the seasons in order and the weather to have some kind of a pattern. That is difficult enough in a normal year but everything is absolutely upside down this year. What is that old commercial... it isn't nice to fool Mother Nature? Uh, huh...
When I look out the french doors of the family room, the small bushes are beginning to lose their purplish-ness but the dogwood is blossoming. It takes my breath away each spring, especially when in full bloom and the sun is rising behind it at dawn.
The very tall trees are just beginning to show their leaves but the smaller trees in the forest (viewed from my front window) are all fully nice and green... a variety of shades from lime green to chartreuse to a shade I would call "Irish" green. All the lighter shades of new life.
I've been pondering the title of a book recently... Happiness is a Choice. The book was popular many years ago (perhaps the 1980s?) but the title has stuck with me over the years. Actually, what I was thinking about this past week was... in the world which we find ourselves living now... we've gone beyond having to choose happiness but the necessity of embracing joy.
Joy can be hard to come by these days for many people and happiness is fleeting at best. Cable and satellite TV makes it possible for us to receive bad news 24/7... and there is plenty of bad news. Not only is a volcano affecting Europe but the planet continues to shake (I saw an interview with a scientist this week who was very worried about all the recent major earthquakes) and our financial system is on its' own fault line.
We feel helpless as we see men and women walk in arrogance and greed making decisions affecting our daily existence which make them richer and more powerful... and many of us facing more lack and helplessness than we ever imagined. That's all on top of the usual stresses of everyday living normal to life.
All of this coming at me this week as I'm making time and energy (or at least attempting) to plant a garden in addition to the usual gotta-do's of life. Why bother? I mean, really... given limited energy and plenty to do each day as it is... why add the burden of planting and weeding and watering and keeping chippy-munkies out of the fence as well as the neighbor's dog and cat?
Because I not only need to make a choice of happiness, I must embrace joy with every part of me. I choose life! There is something about planting and harvesting which takes me back to what is important in life. As I plant seed as men and women have done for millennia before me, I am making a statement of hope and faith... that the seed will flourish and bring a harvest in due season.
Of course, I feel something quite similar when walking through the farmer's market early on a Saturday morning as an abundance of colors and fragrances (and often sounds) bring joy to my soul and a smile to the face.
Choosing life also means (to me) making the decision to pull the weeds of the negative out of my life. I have chosen be more careful about tuning into the 24/7 news channels. I have been monitoring what comes into my ears and eyes... which affects my thinking. Not that I'm playing the ostrich and sticking my head in the sand... no, I still take in news and even some debate but it is no longer a steady diet.
Choosing life has meant carefully choosing what books to read and music to listen to and magazines to peruse and people to include in my circle of influence. While the world appears to be unstable... there is much I can do to bring stability in my little part of the planet... as well as beauty and peace and faith.
I choose to read my Bible (which brings strength as well as faith). I choose to take the time to really look at the dogwood blooms and sit long enough for a Maine Coon kitty to snooze on my flannel housecoat. I choose to enjoy the first cup of morning coffee and to take the time to brew tea in a pretty teapot and sip it from fine English china. I choose to enjoy a feast of homemade bread and real butter with strawberry jam.
I choose to chat with my favorite people in the whole world... my family... whether in person or on the phone. I choose to talk throughout the day with He Who Created Me as I give Him my burdens and share my joys with a thankful heart... and to listen.
Choosing life and embracing joy rather than going with the flow and tumbling head first into the turmoil and trouble of the modern world. Joshua had to choose life, forsaking the false Gods of those around him and embracing the One True God... some things have never changed. :)