It’s a Wonderful Life

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I know it’s not Christmastime, but bear with me.

I was cruising Facebook this morning for about the hundredth time, as usual, and I came across a statement by one of my nieces in response to something someone said in response to … in response to … in response to.  You get it.  Anyway, she said, “I’m not saying my life is wonderful, but …”

That’s the phrase that caught my eye.  Because perhaps her life isn’t wonderful compared to some. She’s got a lot of struggles.  She’s got money worries, more than most of our family.  Things have never been all that easy for her.  But she is an amazing young woman, she works hard at making her life work, and she has three beautiful children whom she adores and to whom she is an excellent, excellent mom. I admire this young woman beyond words; I love her beyond measure.

But I digress.  This post isn’t about her.  It’s about that phrase.  It made me think, for a second, “Yeah, girlie, I know what you mean.  My life isn’t all that wonderful either.”

That thought brought me up short.  The proverbial light went on.

Because my life really is pretty wonderful, and it has been, almost without exception, for as long as I can remember.

The last six months have been a little rough.  Truth be told, the last few years have been bumpy.  I had to deal with my mom’s illness, then my own.  My surgery, then my husband’s.  My mom died; that was hard.  Then her estate had to be settled.  I retired earlier than I really wanted to from a job I loved and moved across the country to rejoin my husband, having to leave some friends and family in order to be with others.  And there have been some challenges in this new “retired” life that have seriously made me want to go, screaming, back to California.

The problem is, I bought into the lie that life isn’t wonderful unless it’s perfect, the definition of “perfect” being that I get exactly what I want, when I want, with no problems – ever.  And when what I want changes, then, by George, life better change to keep up.  Or else it’s no longer wonderful.

But is that really what it takes to have a wonderful life?

“Wonderful” means “wonder filled.”  So let’s take inventory.  Let’s start with the thing that most fills me with wonder.

God loves me.  Me.  I am not insignificant to Him.  He created me specifically to be me, and despite all my faults (and there are many) He loves me desperately.  Even when I spit in His face.  Maybe most of all when I spit in His face — it was because I spit in His face that He made the sacrifice proving the immense depth of His love for me.  He sacrificed His son so that I could have a relationship with Him.

That’s a pretty big wonder.  A person could stop right there, and that would be enough to say, “I have a wonder-filled life.”

On top of that I get to add that I had two parents who stayed married till death did them part and who loved me and took good care of me.  They never beat me (although I did earn my fair share of spankings).  They taught me to love reading and learning and not to tell lies.

On top of that I get to add that I had a brother and a sister to love and who taught me the meaning of family (and, grudgingly, how to share).  And in my sister’s case, what it means to have a lifelong best friend.  No. Matter. What.

On top of that I get to add that I have a husband who has loved me for 35+ years.  Through thick and thin.  Sort of like God loves me – even when I haven’t been very loveable.  Do we always get along perfectly?  No.  Do we always like each other?  No.  Do we always love each other?  Yes.  End of story.

On top of that I get to add that I have two sons who are successful young men.  By “successful” I mean they are kind, generous, and honest.  And they have brought me two beautiful daughters-in-law whom I love, and two amazing granddaughters whom I love, and a new grandbaby on the way, whom I already love.  My cup runneth over.

On top of that I get to add a quiver full of friends.  Real friends, the kind you can call at any hour and they will jump into their car and come rescue you, no matter how far.  Or come hug you if you need a shoulder.  Or laugh with you if you need to be silly.  Old friends I’ve known since junior high; new friends I’ve just recently made.  But people who love me and whom I love.

That’s it right there.  That’s what makes a wonder-filled life.

Love.

You’ve heard it said before, so it may sound cliché, but it’s so true.  You can have all the money and possessions in the world, but if you don’t have love, you have nothing.

And if you do have love, you have wonder.  Your life might still be hard, with challenges and struggles, much more difficult than I myself have ever faced.  But you still have wonder.

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And that’s what makes life wonder-full.

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