"For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling; I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living." Psalm 116:8&9

Saturday, July 9, 2011

New Soap Day

My husband was a complex man. Most people only saw the public side of him: the preacher, counselor, church planter. He was passionate, worked hard and took his calling seriously. But behind that man was the funniest, sweetest man I have ever met. He made life fun. He was that guy you pull up next to who is singing to the radio at the top of his lungs. He was the guy who loved cheesy kid movies like Sky High and Because of Winn Dixie. He never failed to make me laugh – every single day. He enjoyed life and he showed me how to enjoy life.

Barry was also a man of habit. He liked certain things certain ways. One thing he was very particular about was the soap he used. He only used bar soap. No liquid soap. And it had to be Irish Spring. The good thing about bar soap is that it lasts a long time. A very long time … But every so often a beautiful thing would occur. Barry called it “New Soap Day.” It was the day you got to throw away that little cracked sliver of old soap and open a new box of Irish Spring. It was a glorious day. It did not matter what was happening that day – no matter how stressful or painful. Everything was going to be okay because it was new soap day. It sounds silly, but new soap day made him happy. He delighted in it. And it made me happy, because it was fun to watch him enjoy new soap day.

A couple of months ago, I came to an interesting realization. In the last 16 months, I have learned a lot in this new life I live. In regards to learning to walk in the land of the living (Psalm 116:9), I feel like I have done well. I’ve learned to manage our household and our family. I’ve taken big steps. God has been faithful and generous. But I realized that I have forgotten something vitally important. I have forgotten how to have fun. How to be playful. How to laugh – really laugh. And in talking through this with a friend, she asked me what I found delight in. Guess what? I didn’t really have an answer.

Don’t misunderstand. I am content. I am joyful. In fact, I think I have experienced a contentment and joy that most people don’t ever experience. Walking through the darkest of circumstances can show you how bright and good life really is in Jesus. But being content and joyful are different from having fun. And while fun is fleeting, the Bible tells us that God created us for delight. He wants us to enjoy life. He wants us to experience pleasure. He is the creator and giver of those things. And while suffering and grief are a part of life, they are not the only part. They don’t overtake everything. I can still have fun. I can still be silly. I can still laugh so hard I cry. So, while I have temporarily forgotten how to have fun, I am on a quest to relearn the art.

So, here’s to finding my equivalent to “New Soap Day.” To finding delight in the little things. To enjoying the life that God has given me – not surviving it, but really enjoying it. What God has given is so good – may my attitude and actions reflect it.


Christine said...

Thank you for sharing your heart. I too understand the need to learn to have fun again. The fun that has sore cheeks from smiling so much, the fun that has sore stomach muscles from laughing so much, the fun that throws pride out the window and does something so silly the children laugh till they cry...........

I will be praying for you, Charity, as well as striving myself to remember that the art of seeing the fun things in life is another step from just surviving our widowhood to soaring.

Jamie Parfitt said...

It has been seven months since my husband, Ken, died. This month is when we helped with the annual local airshow. I stayed up literally all night making a few posters of pictures showing him at the airshow, or all the places he helped at the grill, or all the pictures I could find of our picnics in cemeteries. He delighted in going to cemeteries for picnics. Well, I felt driven to make those posters (bulletin boards). I happily hung them up on the back of the concession booth we had always helped in, and got busy. The second day it suddenly got un-busy. I was sitting there, watching the crowd meander by, and I saw a couple hug. I started feeling sad. I squelched it. I felt sadder. I whimpered. I finally told the other mother in the stand that I had to leave. I opened up my car, put my head down on the steering wheel, and sobbed. But then the Lord brought to mind, "Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart." (Ps. 37:4) I had to ponder whether I was really delighting in the Lord. I'm glad your post reminded me to meditate on that more deeply.