some days

Some days are just kind of stupid.

You sit there early, hands cupped around a half-mug of cold coffee, feeling that the world beyond your own bed is exhausting. And perhaps just a little bit insupportable. Vacations, among other things, will do that do to you.

You haven’t the heart to consult the best-laid-plan you made so cheerfully the night before. (And well past your bedtime, I might add.)  You know it’s just way too long.

And too optimistic.

And perfectionistic.

You contemplate last night’s dishes crowding the sink and you very sensibly decide to take a walk. And then you come right back inside, beaten and subdued by August itself before you’re fairly out of the gate.

Some days are just like that.

Some days you have to close the cover on your screaming day planner and walk past the dishes like they’re not even there. You have to drive with the top down and the music up. (Kind of loud.) You make an impulsive date with a dashingly handsome man you are wildly in love with (and who happens to be your husband).

Some days there is simply nothing to be done but to put on his favorite dress and sip champagne over a stolen lunch.

Some days you need to stop and look at the things you have loved all your life like you have never seen them before. And remember why you love them.

Some days you need a cold dog nose under your hand and some days you need a soft blanket and a fluffy book. And some days you need a spritz of fancy perfume.

Today was one of the latter. And like a tiny vacation of its own, it lifted me out of the everyday muck and mire of post-vacation blues and plunked me down with wonder into the gift of the moment.

We’ve been away for a while, out gallivanting along the coast in our Airstream. For two weeks I sat on the beach and watched the tide come and go and slowly digested Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gift from the Sea. (More on that later. I hope.) She gave me a lot to think about, but one of the most striking points was something I’ve already felt God stirring in my own heart all summer: the necessity of living in the moment, as that is the only place that life is to be found. Nearly sixty years ago she made the point that Americans on the whole are very bad at this:

Perhaps the historian or the sociologist or the philosopher would say that we are still propelled by our frontier energy, still conditioned by our pioneer pressures or our Puritan anxiety to “do ye next thing.”

Lindbergh contrasts this frantic race for the future (be it next year or next month or the next moment—“Ah, then I will begin to live!”) with the atmosphere of Europe, constrained by the horrors of two world wars (and another half-century of turmoil, I might add) into a forced appreciation of the present: “A golden eternity of here and now.” This is an extremely simplistic commentary on both her words and the historical characteristics of Europe and America, but I really think she’s on to something. All I have to do is look across the Pond to my European friends (and remember the life I’ve lived intermittently and occasionally among them) to believe she’s right. If I had to name something quintessentially European, it would be that gift they possess of living in the moment. Being fully present. “Even if it means merely a walk in the country on Sunday or sipping a cup of black coffee at a sidewalk café.”

The world has gotten bigger since the post-war days in which Anne’s words were penned (or smaller, depending on how you want to look at it) but the significance of the moment we’re in is no less glorious than it ever has been or ever will be. It is the superlative masterpiece of God’s gift of life; it is the place where joy stabs us and sorrow keens us awake. It is holy, kindled with sacred fire.

It’s all we have.

My present today of a pretty dress and a quick lunch with my husband is now past. But I will remember that smack in the middle of a very busy day we held hands and talked about someday. And it made today so very sweet.

Some days are just kind of teeming and pulsing with the miracle.

And that’s when we know that they all are.

16 Responses to “some days”

  1. Autumn says:

    “Sufficient to the day is the evil thereof.” (Matt. 6:34) I wonder if the same could be said for goodness and joy? Here’s to living in the moment!

  2. Piper Green says:

    Beautiful… a reminder for all of us to stop and breathe the wonder of this gift of life, so graciously bestowed by God…..

  3. Beautiful! It is appropriate for me as hubby and I celebrate our 38th anniversary. It seems like yesterday I was 19 years old and preparing for a wedding! Days pass so quickly that one needs to reach out and grab them whenever possible.

    Have you read Anne’s diaries? I read them in my late teens and early twenties, remarkable reading! I have been able to find old copies (for old books are often the best) for a dollar each at the library sales through the years. They await on my shelf to be reread soon, when the time is right. I will know when it is…

    (((HUGS))), this post was a gift to those of us who love great writing. :)

    • Lanier Ivester says:

      Oh, thank you, Brenda! I will definitely check out her diaries. And Happy Anniversary!! :)

      • They are remarkable reading. I checked my bookshelf and here is the order:

        Bring Me a Unicorn (1922-1928)
        Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead (1929-1932)
        Locked Rooms and Open Doors ( 1933-1935)
        The Flower and the Nettle (1936-1939)
        War Within and Without (1939-1944)

        These were the first books I read where the writer so beautifully wrote about a woman’s perspective of life, love, loss, and war. She was in the midst of living history which happened long before I was born.

        She chose not to publish any more of her journals after this but did go on to write other books.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Lanier, that could not resonate more with me today. I have been trying to find that balance for years. I think that ability to stop and find joy in everyday things is a gift from God. My grandmother is the only person I’ve ever seen that possessed it. Well written entry, I enjoyed it ;)

  5. Elyce says:

    ADORE this. I have been reading your work for 5 years now- I think this is one of the most vulnerable and beautiful posts you have ever penned. Love it.

    E

  6. “Gift from the Sea” is one of my favorite books. I don’t think I’ve read it since Caroline was born. I should try to get it out again as I’m sure I would see it in a whole new light. My copy is heavily marked as I lead a book group through it at one time. So many wonderful thoughts in there…

  7. Abbie says:

    Your words are so true! So often I am guilty of waiting for another ‘season, day, moment’ to live, when it is right now that the living is happening! Thank you for your words! God Bless, Abbie

  8. Absolutely lovely and true. Thank you!

    (I can’t remember if I’ve ever responded here before or not; either way, I wanted to say I appreciate your beautifully-crafted words and thoughts in this space. They encourage me.)

  9. Josh says:

    This is so, so well said, Lanier (as usual!). I needed to read it.

  10. Martina says:

    You did the right thing! How lovely to accompany you on this special outing. Funnily, last Thursday I also felt the need to sursprise my husband at work, walk with him through the colorful little streets of our gothic town and have lunch with him, also sitting outside (no champagne, though…). I do that maybe twice a year. What a nice coincidence! And how much better the whole day looked!
    Wishing you many more moments of being present, Martina

  11. Welcome back from the trip in the Airstream in the heat!
    Gifts from the Sea seems to float in my mind too every summer at the beach.
    Also these words from Austen’s Persuasion:

    Anne and Henrietta, finding themselves the earliest of the party the next morning, agreed to stroll down to the sea before breakfast. They went to the sands, to watch the flowing of the tide, which a fine south-easterly breeze was bringing in with all the grandeur which so flat a shore admitted. They praised the morning; gloried in the sea; sympathized in the delight of the fresh-feeling breeze–and were silent; ( chap 12)

    and then the rest of your blog:

    Capt. Wentworth’s letter

    “I can listen no longer in slence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope.”

  12. Judi Hayes says:

    That picture of you in the red dress looks remarkably like my daughter! Even she and my son agree. Lovely, both of you.

  13. Pam says:

    Lanier,

    I bought “A Severe Mercy” (thanks to you) and am reading it these past several days. I’m struck by how the author felt more at home in England than in Virginia and see similarities in your appreciation for that cozy, interior life. But Europen churches stand empty these days and I am heartbroken that the home of C.S. Lewis is apostate today. Any thoughts on why people who were “forced between two wars to appreciate the moment” can become so lost?

    God Bless. Pam

    • Lanier Ivester says:

      Hello, Pam. :) I hope you’re enjoying A Severe Mercy. It is truly one of my favorite books of all time. As far as your question, I don’t really feel that it’s my place to comment on the overall atmosphere of faith overseas, as my belief is that God in the New Covenant in Christ no longer deals with us on a national level so much as on a uniquely personal level. We live in a Shadowland, yes, but it is pierced with heavenly light. I have enjoyed wonderful, soul-feeding fellowship with believers overseas, most especially in England–some of the liveliest lives in Christ you can imagine :) , and I’ve experienced some intensely personal worship in the churches and cathedrals I’ve visited over there. :)

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