I sat outside the other night. (Rare for a mom in Houston-- namely because of the aforementioned terms "mom" and "Houston.") Lee had taken Avery to the bath-- I was supposed to clear the dishes and begin cleaning up, but instead I sat, listened to a few more songs on the playlist, and looked up.
I hardly ever look up in Houston. (Mostly because of light pollution-- I couldn't really see the stars, so I watched blinking airplanes & thought about the stars instead.) But, the other night, I looked up and remembered that I am small.
I am a small person with small influence-- in the grand scheme of the universe (airplanes and all), I am a speck; in the grand scheme of history, I am a speck. But, I want to live a life of purpose.
My grandmother just celebrated her 80th birthday-- let's say I make it to that age, and I have a great, wild birthday blow-out with children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. What do I want? I want to be living a full life; I want to be learning and teaching and laughing and writing and traveling. Until the day I meet my maker, I long to live as a woman of influence, of purpose. But, as a speck, how do I truly live well?
As David penned Psalm 8, I imagine he, too, sat outside and looked up. He writes:
"When I observe Your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which You set in place,
what is man that You remember him,
the son of man that You look after him?"
I don't have all the answers, but here's what I know-- I am most fulfilled when I am working for something bigger than myself. And, as I look up and think about the cosmic vastness that my God holds in the palm of His hand, my perspective shifts. No longer can I focus inward.
"You made him little less than angels
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
You put everything under his feet."
The lovely truth is this: my God is glory itself, yet he gives me a role to play in His story. For now, I am mommy to a sticky, determined, laughing little girl. The world dismisses me, tells me I do nothing meaningful. But, my King tells me I am crowned with glory and honor regardless of whether I choose to work at home or outside of it.
At the end of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, Levin (one of my favorite characters in all of literature) also looks up. Levin goes out and listens "not so much to his thoughts... as to the state of his soul." To make several chapters short, he comes to this conclusion: "live for God, for the soul."
There are many things to live for, to work towards. But, when I listen to the state of my soul, I realize that nothing satisfies like enjoying my God and working for His kingdom.
And so, I think that this what I must do: Look up. Live for God, for the soul.