These past few days, sickness has reared its ugly face upon me. Viruses and sinus infections cycle throughout my body as if they’re the best of friends working together to bring me down. One of my first few thoughts upon getting sick was figuring out how to make my sickness conform to my planner and the things I had planned for the day. Unfortunately, that didn’t seem to work too well.
I like for the world to conform to my schedule. I feel the most outwardly happy when my room is organized and all things are in order, but truly, this lifestyle of hustling has led me to many low moments and catastrophic realizations that it is not sustainable; to stay up into the wee hours of the night because I don’t know how to say no or when to stop myself. I’ve been reading the book, Present Over Perfect, by Shauna Niequist, and it is etching at the very core of me.
Yesterday night was one of those low moments where lots of bustling and trying to work through the sickness caught up with me; my body was begging me to rest, fluctuating between heat and cold shivers, fighting to be well again to the point where I couldn’t really very much as move very well. And that is when my friend came over from a couple doors down. Dirty clothes flung everywhere, my bedsheets and blankets hurled around as I wrapped them around me for warmth, hairs thin and dry and out of place, and a very messy room. Sheets of paper and readings unfinished because my weary eyes wouldn’t, couldn’t any longer scan over the words on the pages. This is one of those moments when it hurts a whole lot, but I must, like Shauna says, make room for the margins.
Instead of waiting to crash in trying to work ahead and never knowing how to take in this precious time, may I take the time to reflect on the beauty around me, take care of my body so that it can function well and that I can give and receive the love that it deserves, and really notice the things around me. It’s a sunny day, and I live in Nashville. There is an abundance here that I don’t even notice in the craziness of my own messy world. I want to take my eyes off of me and my little things, and look around me with gratitude. I want to love the body I have been given, and take time for the margins.
As someone who loves to read books; oh goodness, piles are on my desk, neatly stacked of course, anywhose; I love to write little cursive and printed notes on the side, to think and reflect, letting the words affect and change me deeply. I love journaling Bibles, too, which more space for notes. And this is like how I want my life to be; filled with the margins, with time to reflect and show love to those around me, but also to receive it, too. I want it to have colors and spontaneous road trips to see the greener earth that is all around and far beyond me. I want to meet the people that surround me; those faces in the streets to become human to me, because I believe that everybody has a story, and we all want to be heard, known, and loved.
Faces become stories when we listen, over meals and walks, conversations, and sharing. And those stories permeate and generalize to the faces we see; no longer passing by, but noticing the humanity that we share, those faces on the streets hold stories that we then long to know. Those distant attributes at first unfamiliar to us become friends and companions helping us learn who we are and what we believe to be true. In the homeless, no longer does fear overcome me. It is then that I begin to see the face of a friend like Dwayne, yet uniquely made, and smile. And it all begins with the time for the margins, to stop and listen, and hear a story; to share one, too. Faces become people with stories to tell and humanity grows smaller as intimacy with others widens.
Color the margins, hmm, fill them with beauty, my thoughts flutter. May there be colors and words, reflections and pictures, and may this life be a book filled with colorful margins that reflect a life well lived.