It's no secret - I love to take pictures of itty bitty things out in the natural world. Lady bugs. Butterflies. Ants. Flowers. Things a person could step on and never even know it.
My life used to feel big. I remember what college felt like. It was extravagant in many ways - so much time and so many choices. Now? If my head isn't on straight it can seem a bit small.
Not long ago a good friend of mine, a fellow musician, was talking to me about something they'd done, which has also been a dream of mine off and on over the years. But because of various choices I've made, it's never seemed plausible. Especially these days - motherhood, family life, limited time for anything and everything. My friend told me I should think about trying to take advantage of this opportunity and I thought, "You don't understand. You do not understand. Life has limits. I have these new limits. Young mothers can't just jump up and run off for an adventure anytime they want!" Of course, my friend meant so well and was being so kind - I didn't say any of that. The little cartoon Sarah in my head was dancing around it, though.
To lust after another person's life is a great temptation.
To look at someone and think, "They don't KNOW how GOOD they have it." is almost as bad for our hearts as the act of stealing.
Why? It seems really practical to me. Firstly, it causes us to forget who we already are. Secondly, it causes us to ignore our own lives and the good we could do with what we already have.
Then we can stop and think about how much we don't know - that other life or situation that seems so good is just as complicated as our own life. Everybody has their own limits. Everybody has their own burden. It's a matter of perspective . . . and when it comes to the lives of others, we really do lack perspective. We really can't know.
And yes, by the way, there is some truth to this idea of life shrinking down a touch as we get older. I'd be a liar if I told you different. It's especially apparent if we choose to grow a family. Other people naturally come first and their needs come before our needs. It's not a bad thing. It's just a different thing.
As I live into this season of life, I find myself instinctively drawing the circle smaller, pulling the dear things tighter around myself. When I reach for something, I reach for the thing I think will have the most impact and be the most useful because the time is always slipping away from me and I only have so much energy. When I reach for someone, I reach for the person I know I can be the most helpful to or the person I know can best understand me . . . not because other people aren't important, but because of the time and the space and the energy - so little, so precious.
No - I don't actually believe mothers can't have big adventures.
Yes - I do believe there's a limit to what we are each able to do in the time we have.
No - I'm not saying you have to drown your dreams when you start a family.
Yes - I am saying we've got a certain amount of choice making to do once our beautiful children come into the world (and hopefully before then, too). Sometimes this does mean we'll give something up when we'd rather have it than go without it. Sometimes that will be a closely held dream or an adventure we've longed for.
My sister said something to me a few days ago that made so much sense and was wise and lovely (she's wise and lovely).
She said she thought it wasn't so much that our lives shrink as we grow, but more like we recognize better what is the most precious and act accordingly - this naturally draws that circle smaller. It happens without our thinking about it and it happens for a good reason.
This called something else to mind.
When I take pictures of little things out on the trail or in my back yard, they seem very big - grand, even!
Each thing, in its own place, is big enough.
Our lives are both big and small enough.
They make enough sense.
They make enough nonsense.
We're all going to be ok even when we're not ok.
This is life.
For now I'll tell you that I'm wrapping up the Third Day Life EP, listening to edits and making choices. I'm wanting to write, but am frankly having a tough time writing my own words right now . . . so many reasons for that, none of them important for you . . . so I'm borrowing from the Bible and from poets like Elizabeth Barrett Browning - just until I get back to my old note book. Here is a bit of what I've done lately for your listening enjoyment.
Get out there and live the life you've been given. It's enough.