I often find it difficult to get excited about the same old thing. And if I lose enthusiasm, I find that I don’t work as hard at what I need to do. I want to learn to delight in the moment, to be content with what is, not yearning for what is not or has not yet happened. It takes more than just showing up. It takes being intentional with my attitude. A supernatural focus, not an expectation of mediocrity. Choosing to enjoy waking up in the morning because I’m still alive with the ability to get out of bed and move, even if I creak a little more than I once did. Delighting in a sudden shower, even though it’s trashing my hair, because we need the rain, and frankly, who can complain about a rainbow?
My granddaughter, Sydney, participates in competitive cheering. The sport where small people are thrown about by slightly larger people with the hope that they will be caught. (I can be supportive without understanding the choice to do yourself bodily harm.) Syd loves the tumbling and the routines and has become quite good at it, even though she’s only been involved with it for a couple of months. Her love for the sport fuels her passion. Her latest goal is to perfect a back handspring, that stunt that requires you to leap in the air, curve your body in a backward C, complete a 360 degree rotation and land on our feet. Something monkeys are much more adept at than we are. She has persisted and has not been deterred by bad or uncomfortable landings, by uneven take-offs or her own exhaustion. She practices every chance she gets.
She hit it perfectly last week. I wish I’d had a camera to catch the expression on her face–sheer delight. A goal pursued and accomplished. A work finished well. Satisfaction with the effort invested. To prove she had accomplished it, she did it again. And again. And did four in a row.
I think I want to be like Syd when I grow up. No sense of entitlement. No despondency when it doesn’t work the first or the fifth or the fifteenth time. Just persistence and delight with the process and results. Every day is an opportunity to work well and enjoy that effort, whether it turns out like I want it to or not. Every day is a miracle that has been given me to use, not waste or complain or “what if” or “if only”. I want to embrace the reality of what I have, who I am, what I am called to do and to pursue it with excellence. To try my best and not give excuses for what I’m not doing.
I believe God has made us to work well. With hope. To delight in what we can do, not bemoan what we can’t. He delights in us being what we’re created to be–loved by Him and allowing that love to help us become more like Him. And when you know you’re loved well, you can attempt all kinds of things.
Even a back handspring.