Negative Nelly

I’m in the mountains this week as my kids are at summer camp and it’s quieter than home; no mounting household obligations or major tasks at the moment. The weather is cooler and in general, there’s a more peaceful vibe up here. Along with missing my kids, it lends itself to more reflection. Being in the mountains also reminds me of my Dad, who lived up here in the latter years of his life. I went back to an older post I made sharing his eulogy. What better choice than purposely pulling up sad things to read while alone? Either way, it reminded me of a quote I included that served me well again as I read it today. 

“To our surprise, an encouragement we have discovered is that the less we attempt to make this world into a heaven, the more we are able to enjoy it. No longer are we burdening it with demands impossible for it to fulfill.” -Tim Keller

What social media shared last week about my life is that my kids are settled in at summer camp and loving it, which brings me great joy. That is all still true this morning, but with a bit of a bump in the middle. We got a call a few days in that my daughter had caught Covid and had to be picked up from camp. It was certainly a heartbreaking thing to do as a Mom. We cried and felt our feelings of sad and mad and then we agreed to let those feelings come as they wish while we made the best of it. We hoped and prayed that she would test negative after her 5 days of quarantine, but also knew that may not be what was in the plan (and would use Plan B of new school shoe shopping to brighten our outlook). Thankfully, we have our travel trailer up near camp while they’re there, so we had a place to stay and rest. She felt 97% her regular bouncy, lovely self most of the time. We made the best of it and tried to remain realistic. 

Praise God, she did test negative and was able to return to camp for the last several days of her session. I’m thankful I remembered to keep an open mind with my expectations (it’s been a struggle many, many times before). How often do we get so caught up in what we think should happen? What comes to mind when I say that? It may depend on your natural bent toward attitude; half glass full vs. empty mindset. If it’s a struggle, you may inadvertently allow grumpiness to follow you like Charlie Brown’s friend, Pig Pen and his looming dirt cloud. We could be completely unaware of how the negativity over broken expectations may be infiltrating our attitude, interactions and heart. 

I leave you with the truth that is an emotional mix I often write about. Life is not going to be perfect. Life is not going to be fair. It will be broken. It will be thrilling. It will be overwhelmingly devastating and incredibly breathtaking. I sit down to write each time because I feel something stirring and settling and that’s what the quote and recent circumstances did for me, so I share it with you, always with the goal of being helpful and encouraging to your human heart. Let’s look for the nooks and crannies of good, feel the sad over disappointments and then keep moving forward with that day.