Spring is finally here! Time to open up the house and let the sunshine in. Clean those windows, tidy up the garden, grab a few garbage bags, go through all the cupboards, and throw away everything that has cluttered up the house.
Spring is also a great time to clear out the junk in our heads as well; all of the thoughts like, ‘Why me?’, ‘Why not me?’, ‘If only..’, ‘How could you let this happen?’, ‘What could I do better?’, ‘What could I have done differently?’, and ‘Why can’t I have what they have?’
The questions pile up like winter dust, with no answers in sight. Self-pity, negativity and doubt can make us feel like winter gloom. Thankfully God sends gentle reminders of His presence and willingness to journey with us – through good times and bad.
Recently a young couple I know posted on Facebook the news that they were having to move close the Royal Children’s Hospital for the next 6 months or so in order for their baby to receive treatment he needed in order to sustain life. This is particularly difficult for this young family as they are not from Melbourne, so this news meant that the whole family has to relocate. When I rang my friend to find out how she was travelling and coping with this news, I fully expected her to start complaining about how painful and difficult it was for her family to have to relocate and to spend so much time in hospital, particularly as this family are from regional Victoria and Melbourne is enduring much tougher restrictions. However, when she heard my voice she said with a smile, ‘Oh Janine, we have been blessed with such wonderful health care and we’ve been offered a room at Ronald McDonald House for our time in Melbourne.’
I know it sounds superficial but the first thought I had was, ‘A room at Ronald McDonald House is not much of a home for 6 months!’ I truly felt sorry for her. Yet, while it made me sad, she seemed perfectly fine with it and was looking at the good in a bad situation. For the rest of the day, the situation started unravelling in my head. Here I was with the imaginary world on my shoulders, yet I was walking on both feet with breath in my lungs, with a job that I enjoy, a warm home, a family who keep me sane (and entertained) and food in my refrigerator.
I started to pray, ‘God, I have got to get rid of this annoying habit of feeling sorry for myself when the most miniscule thing goes wrong in my day. I have so much to be thankful for, I should be skipping along during my one hour of exercise every day. But how do I do this? Where do I begin? How can I remember to cherish my life and savour the good?’
It was then that I heard that still small voice say, ‘You can start with every moment.’
I had to pause and laugh at myself. Of course! The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, as does any big spring-cleaning job. If I could take every moment and enjoy it to its fullest, letting tomorrow take care of itself, in no time I would look back on a life of laughter and love.
So I turn up my music full-bore, dance around my kitchen and give a smile. The day looked better already. And as I venture through my suburb on my walk each day I noticed the spring buds and blossoms on trees everywhere. And God continues to perfect the work He started in me.
Janine de Paiva
Junior School Chaplain