I'm kinda like a wild bear when it comes to summer berries. We were watching a nature show about bears tonight and how they eat something like 10,000 berries a day, and I found myself wishing that I had 10,000 to see how many I could eat in a day. I just adore berries and my favorite of all is the raspberry. The layers of flavor, slightly tart and totally sweet, the ease of eating (no stem or seed to deal with), the way you can eat more than one at a time ... oh wow. I think I need some right now.
The funny thing is: sometimes I let berries go bad. I'll buy a lot of them and put them in the fridge where I will forget about them, or become too busy to eat them until I find them moldy and yucky. How stupid of me! (not to mention wasteful!) I literally could eat only berries for meals at a time - but when I have some I sometimes loose sight of them until it's too late.
This reminds me of this season of our life. Last week I sat down and wrote every number from 1 to 299 in my calendar. The official countdown has begun. The countdown that ends when my Farmer Boy will be out of school and we can begin adoption and all the other parts of our life that have been put on hold over these past 2 years. I don't really think that doing this countdown is wrong. Right now we both feel kinda like we are drowning in a sea of work, school, and responsibilities, and we miss each other. I miss having dinner with my sweet Husband. I long for the day when we can go to bed at a reasonable hour together - and wake up together. I miss having friends over or being free to go and visit people we love more often. I'm tired of declining invitations to dinner, Bible studies, church activities etc because we are just too busy. I cannot wait until we can actually apply to adopt and be closer to our Someday Babies. This is a needed and blessed season, but it is at times unbelievably difficult. The countdown is helpful because it reminds us that nothing lasts forever and someday we will be free to actively pursue the dreams God has put in our heart. We need a rope to help us keep our heads above the water - and the countdown is one strand of that rope. But it can also be dangerous. Because it can be an enemy of contentment if we let it.
And one of the hardest parts of this time, is that I want to be content so very badly. I know that this day could be my (or any of our) last. I know that the plans we make may never happen. And I also know that there is joy in this season, and there are many blessings all around us. We just have to look for them, and be open to them being different than the blessings we long for with every breath. Just like berries being pushed to the back of the fridge - they are HERE and if we don't appreciate them it will be too late and we'll be filled with regret.
I am also learning that contentment is a moment by moment choice. It's (just like most good qualities) not something we can get and then just keep forever without lots of prayer and diligence every moment. Today I played scrabble with my precious Grammie - and her deep joy over this simple game (which might have been deeper because she beat me!) reminded me again that there is so much beauty and pure bliss all around us and even because of this season we are walking through. Every single day I am filled with deep satisfaction and thrilling joy that comes out of the blue - when I do my job well, when Joshua tells me he got another A, when I make a yummy meal for those I love, when we harvest veggies from our little garden, when another rose blooms, when I hear of the witness my Husband is in his workplace, when it's bedtime and I'm exhausted but proud that we all made it through another day. I don't want to miss out on the opportunities to be filled with joy and contentment because parts of life hurt and I'm too busy looking ahead to the blessings we don't get yet.
Lord, help me savor this day, this moment, and not let the beauty of tomorrow steal away the contentment and joy that is right in front of me. Let me rejoice in every blessing you have put right in front of me (including the blessings in disguise)- just like ripe flavorful raspberries.