Sunday, September 12, 2010

thoughts on the weekend, getting older and becoming a radical

Warning: I have a lot on my mind and that's not always a good thing when it comes to my blog.

Here's the blog is not really a super serious place. There are moments of meaningful thought and a lot of emotion is expressed here but in general my blog is light and fluffy. And that's okay. I read a few blogs that I consider 'deep' and sometimes light and fluffy is a welcome relief. However, when I do want to write something more serious I tend to be misunderstood. I get comments from people wanting to encourage me and cheer me up which I love but which sometimes make me feel like I missed making my point. Or my hubs will dole out a 'get a grip speech' which I sometimes need and can appreciate but I'm not needing that today. Today I just need to put some of these thoughts into written words.

With all that being said, I'm going to try to tell you more today about what's on my mind besides how I spent my weekend. Scintillating as that always is.

I'm celebrating a birthday on Saturday. A pretty big birthday. And I'm feeling kind of eh. I mean, my hubs has some sort of surprise plans for the day which involve me packing an overnite bag and I know there will be lots of fun and special and wonderful happening around here. When I say I'm feeling eh I don't mean about how my family will work to make the day nice, I mean something more.

Do you spend much time thinking about the meaning of life? Seriously? I would like to know your answer. Because lately I've been thinking about it a lot. I suspect if you have very young children at home your answer is no. Life is busy and getting thru the day with everyone fed, clothed, schooled, bathed and loved pretty much takes up most of the space in your brain. But I'm at a different place in my life. And birthdays are a good time for reflecting, right?

I think a few things have occurred recently to get my brain a-swirling...

There was 9-11. And 9-11 always makes me think about the first time in my adult life I smacked head long into evil in this world and it also involved terrorism and senseless death and airplanes. My neighbors. Fifteen years of neighborliness. Friends. Aside from my own mother I don't think anyone influenced my idea of who I wanted to be as a mother more than the mom who lived next door. I loved that family. They moved to London one summer. And just a few short months later on a clear December day that dad, and that mom, and their two beautiful young daughters boarded a plane in London to return to the US for Christmas. That plane came to be known as Pan Am 103 or The Lockerbie Jet. In an eyeblink the world tilted. Why? Over 20 years have come and gone and I cannot answer that question. But I think about it sometimes. And always especially on 9-11.

Guatemala. More specifically Ann Voskamp's blog posts from Guatemala. I've always loved her blog because most days it is like a sea of calm, cool, rest amidst the clanging of the internet. Her writing is beautiful and poetic. And this past week she traveled with Compassion International to Guatemala and I've been reading her posts and I dare you to read them and not shed a tear. Cry, you say? Well then maybe you shouldn't read them Joyce. But I can't not read them. They remind me that there are people in this world whose tin houses are stuck into a hillside that slips away without warning and whose children are recruited by drug lords at the tender age of 7. People who need hope. And food and clothing and water. But most of all hope. The weight of that thought presses in on me and makes me want to act.

Radical. It's a book. A New York Times bestseller that a lot of people are reading including me. Its the type of book that is sometimes called 'jumping on a bandwagon' but sometimes there's a reason why people jump on a bandwagon. I don't agree with everything the author has to say but he does make some really thought provoking and down right uncomfortable points about what we have as Americans and what we do with what we have. As I sip tea in my warm cozy house with a hearty meal on the stove and I write on my nearly brand new Mac about a blog post that tells of little children climbing a hill to outrun a mudslide I cannot help but see the contradiction. Can't we all?

If you know me in person I'm pretty sure radical is not the word that would instantly pop into your head if someone asked you to describe me. But as I roll into a new decade on Saturday I'm kind of wishing it was. I think I need a little bit more radical in my life.

I re-read this many times and debated if I should actually hit publish. I'm thinking out loud, trying to make certain opportunity is not sitting squarely in front of me and I'm too caught up in the superficial to miss the meaningful. I'm just having a birthday and thinking about the meaning of life. About how I can make a difference in a world filled with hungry children and devastating poverty and evil in all its many forms. In this new decade, how do I live a more radical life?

Okay, no worries...while I'm sure you all appreciated this little peek inside my head it will be back to your regularly scheduled nonsense here tomorrow. My usual writing is light with a side of deep for anyone who might be looking.

You know...sometimes it is worth looking.


  1. I am a young mom (26) with two little children (6 & 3) and I regularly think about Life, why I'm here, what my purpose is, what my gift is to the world.

    I think it's something everyone does from time to time, sometimes more than others. I don't think there's anything wrong with it.

    Glad to have read your more deeper post :)

  2. Joyce,

    I appreciate your posts~ funny, fluffy, deep, thoughtful, and all of the rest. I think you are at a place in your life where you have more time to really ponder these things, think them through, and want to make a difference in an entirely new way. You made a difference, and continue to, when your girls were at home and you were raising them, how you live your life to please God, the way you honor your husband, the way you lift up your family, and how you appreciate all that God has given you. I learned all of that about you just by reading your blog. :-)

    God gives us wisdom and fresh perspective when we're ready for it. I say run with it!


  3. Dear Joyce,
    My heart is linked to yours through the Lockerbie crash. I lost several people I knew that day, and went to several funerals. You see, my husband was a Pan Am pilot. The Captain was a personal friend of ours. My Hubby was flying that day (in the Caribbean) and I heard that a Pan Am plan had crashed. It was 10 minutes before I knew where. (news tease)
    Life has this dark side, doesn't it? I think the older I get, the more I come to understand how much we need to celebrate the good times, for there is so much sadness, tragedy and evil in the world.
    I too, try to write bright and happy things on my blog, but there are times when life, real life intrudes and reminds us how fragile our happiness is.

  4. If you're thinking you might just be the next Margaret Meade, so shall you. The one thing I know about Joyce is that she doesn't just make a difference, she makes ALL the difference. After all, who knocked ME down when I wanted to pick up fried chicken for our wet Girl Scouts instead of a soggy weenie roast!! Radical is as radical does :-)

  5. It's overwhelming at times. What can I do? I'm one person. But I don't want that to stop me. I don't want to be just consumed with feeding and dressing me and my own. And yet that is precisely what happens day in and day out. Why, God, did you choose this life for me? All this blessing? What am I supposed to do with it?

  6. I'm just really impressed you were able to use the word "Scintillating" in your post!
    I'd say there are very few 40 & overs who haven't thought about what kind of difference they've made/will make in their life. I know when I sit and listen to things that are going on in the world, I wonder what I can do. I'm not brave enough to get on an airplane and physically help them out...sometimes prayers are enough.

  7. Most of my adult life I have lived in fear of not living up to my potential. Whatever that may be. I also try to have a happy blog. A place to be me, with an occasional foray into the more serious. Introspection is good. Being challenged is good. How can someone make a difference? They can't help every child outrun the mudslide. But they can help with one small thing. And then another small thing. Whether it's sponsoring someone over there, or dealing with some ministry God has given you here--whatever God lays on your heart will help make a difference.

    And in all that introspection, don't overlook the people for whom you've already made a difference. People whose lives are better because you are in their lives.

    I also read a blog where the author writes like poetry. Her words fit together in such a perfect way. Her name is Joyce.

  8. Happy Almost Big Birthday! I think everyone goes through these seasons where they just need to think on these things . . . even us stay at homers. I often wonder what my purpose is. Since everything I do is pointless, it seems :) I know, in reality, that it is not pointless, but you get my drift.

  9. I think new seasons of life are a time for evaluation and course correction, and I heartily endorse soul-searching and venturing out.

    Can't wait to hear where He's leading you.

  10. I can't wait to start being "radically" challenged. :) And happy early birthday! We like to celebrate birthdays all week long here, too. Our daughters' birthdays are two days apart, so we feel justified for doing it that way. Ha!

  11. Great heartfelt post. I've been thinking some of the same things. Why do I do what I do when I'm not all that happy doing it and how better could I be using my time for better causes type thoughts? Thanks so much for sharing your heart.

  12. I'm really glad you did hit publish and that you wrote this post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and ramblings and heart . . . I am looking forward to seeing how the Lord continues to move you forward on this journey!